Our main responsibilities in relation to the State’s aquaculture industry include:
industry management and regulation;
assessment and administration of aquaculture authorisations;
environmental management and aquaculture biosecurity; and
providing advice on industry development initiatives.
The main pieces of legislation that regulate aquaculture are the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and the Fish Resources Management Regulations 1995.
To start an aquaculture operation, you need a licence from us. Fees vary depending on the type of proposal.
In some cases, you may also need a translocation assessment. The translocation of fish involves moving them into an area where the species isn’t endemic.
Issues around biosecurity are a consideration, to prevent aquatic pests and diseases spreading and to protect biodiversity.
Assessing licence applications
We assess marine-related aquaculture licence and variation applications under principles set out in Ministerial policy guidelines.
Our aquaculture branch manager is able to approve applications for private land where there’s no connection with, or discharge to, the marine environment.
We are reviewing licence conditions to help improve consistency, transparency and certainty in licensing and compliance arrangements across all aquaculture industry sectors.
Depending on the location and scale of a proposal, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) may also need to assess it. Proposals are normally referred to the EPA for assessment if considered environmentally significant.
A key part of our role is to ensure environmental management and regulation of the industry.
Licensees must develop Management and Environmental Monitoring Plans (MEMPs) in support of their licences.
As this is a recent requirement, new approved applications will need to include a MEMP. Exceptions include licences for marron aquaculture. For existing licences, there is a two-year window in which to develop a MEMP.
Operators will send us a yearly MEMP report when paying their licence renewal.
We have a responsibility to ensure licence conditions, especially biosecurity plans, are being followed.
Some aquaculture operators are already required to have a biosecurity plan under a licence condition. More will require biosecurity plans in the future.
We are developing templates for MEMPs and biosecurity plans (expected be available mid 2012).
An aquaculture licence authorises a specific aquaculture activity in a defined site, whereas a lease provides tenure for the specified area of land or water. An aquaculture lease doesn’t authorise the use of the leased area without an aquaculture licence.
If an aquaculture licence authorising the activity being carried out in the leased area is cancelled or not renewed, the lease is terminated.
If an aquaculture lease is terminated or expires, an aquaculture licence authorising the activity being carried out in the leased area is cancelled.
Quarterly production returns
Licensees must provide quarterly aquaculture production returns so we can compile annual aquaculture production statistics.
We provide an Aquaculture Production Quarterly Returns Book, which explains how to fill in the returns. For more help speak to our Aquaculture Returns Officer.
T: (08) 9203 0111