Setting up a land-based farm
Find out what the requirements are to set up land-based aquaculture and how to get a fish-farm licence from us.
WHAT THIS PROCESS COVERS
This process covers aquaculture above the mean high-water mark, including:
- marine and freshwater species (fish, shellfish, and seaweed)
- farming in tanks, ponds, or cages (such as in freshwater canals)
- farming on land using seawater or brackish water (pumped in from the sea or circulated around the farm).
Setting up a marine farm (like a mussel or oyster farm) and finfish sea cages below mean high-water mark follows a different process.
Find out which species can be farmed
You can apply to farm any species listed under the Notice Specifying Fish Species Which May Be Farmed (2017).
If you want to farm a species that is not on the list, you must apply to us to have the species listed.
- Email email@example.com
Requirements to establish a land-based farm
To set up a land-based farm, you need:
- resource consent from the local council or a letter from council advising if consent isn't needed
- to notify a fish and game council in the area where the farm will be located
- to register as a client with FishServe
- a fish-farm licence issued by us.
Follow the steps to get approval
Before applying for a fish-farm licence, you must get resource consent from the relevant regional council or unitary authority. This may include consent to establish a farm, install pipelines under the foreshore, or take and discharge water.
Contact your regional council or unitary authority to find out:
- what consultation and information is required
- what application forms you need to complete
- application fees.
When you apply for consent to take or discharge water, you must give written notice of your application for consent to a fish and game council in the district where the:
- farm will be located
- water will be released.
Fish and game councils have the right to make written submissions to the director-general of MPI about your application within 21 days of notification.
Register as a FishServe client
To set up an aquaculture farm you must be registered as a client with FishServe. FishServe provides aquaculture administrative services (such as collection of fees) on behalf of MPI.
To register, download and complete the relevant FishServe registration form:
- Application for company, incorporated society, limited partnership
- Application for individual or sole trader
- Application for trust or partnership
The application for client registration can be submitted at the same time as your application for a fish-farm licence.
Apply for a fish-farm licence
Complete the Application for a fish-farm licence.
Application for a fish-farm licence [PDF, 190 KB]
Download the fish-farm licence application guidelines [PDF, 1.3 MB]
Note, the fish-farm licence application form can also be used to:
- vary an existing licence (for example, to add more species to be farmed)
- renew or transfer a licence
- cancel a licence.
Submit the completed licence application form to MPI with:
- resource consents to take and discharge water from the fish farm (or if you are using a recycling system, a letter from council stating that consent isn't needed)
- any other resource consent required to set up the fish farm
- evidence you have the right to use the land for the fish farm (for example, a copy of the lease agreement or ownership papers)
- a list of species you want to farm and where you will get stock from
- duplicate plans of the farm site and layout
- completed FishServe client registration form
- the application fee of $2,008.20 (including GST).
Send the completed forms and supporting documents to:
Ministry for Primary Industries
Nelson (Regional Office)
Private Bag 14
Port Nelson 7042
Get approval to transfer broodstock
Before transferring broodstock to a farm, you'll need to get approval from us. You can't take species from natural waters (for example, the sea, lakes, and rivers) to use as broodstock on a fish farm. Stock must come from another land-based fish farm, a marine farm, or a licensed fish receiver.
For approval, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Control biosecurity risks
When planning an aquaculture farm, you must be able to supply water to every pond on the farm without it passing through any other pond on the farm. This allows control of any biosecurity risks – if necessary, infected ponds can be isolated and water can be prevented from leaving the farm.
Find out more
Who to contact
For more information on land-based fish farming, email email@example.com
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