On 1 October 2011 aquaculture legislative reforms came into effect. These changes are intended to foster environmentally sustainable aquaculture in New Zealand. The reforms make changes to the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004, the Fisheries Act 1996, the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004, and the Resource Management Act 1991.
These legislative reforms provide a framework for the aquaculture industry. At the same time, the law maintains essential protections for the environment and balances aquaculture with other uses of the coastal space. The reforms make the following changes to the legislative framework for aquaculture:
- Amends the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to streamline aquaculture planning and consenting, including removing the requirement for aquaculture management areas (AMAs) to be established before consent applications can be made. View the Resource Management Act (No 2) 2011.
- Amends the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals and Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 to bring existing marine farmers and applicants into the new law, and provide for the AMA in Waikato and an interim AMA in Tasman to be completed. View the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals and Transitional Provisions) Amendment Act 2011.
- Amends the Tasman Regional Coastal Plan to allow applications to be made to farm a wider range of species, including finfish.
- Amends the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan to:
- allow applications to be made to farm a wider range of species, including finfish
- allow applications to be made for small extensions to existing farms
- establish the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone, within which applications can be made to farm finfish species.
- Amends the Fisheries Act 1996 to streamline the undue adverse effects on fishing (UAE) test, better integrate the UAE test with consent processes, and balance the interests of commercial quota holders with those of aquaculture. View the Fisheries Amendment Act 2011.
- Amends the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 to enable the settlement to be delivered on a regional basis, through agreements between the Crown and iwi. View the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Amendment Act 2011.
For information on local and central government roles and responsibilities under the legislative reforms - see roles and responsibilities.
Technical guidance on the reforms
Download Information Overview (PDF 137KB)
Download Aquaculture planning and consenting (PDF 210KB)
Download Managing demand in the coastal marine area (PDF 196KB)
Download Aquaculture regulation-making power (PDF 137KB)
Download Re-consenting aquaculture (PDF 157KB)
Download Mechanisms for managing allocation of coastal space (PDF 2MB)
Download Delivering on the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement (PDF 103KB)
What hasn’t changed?
While the legislative reforms have ushered in a number of changes, many aspects of managing marine-based aquaculture remain the same. These include:
- Primary responsibility for aquaculture planning and consenting remains with regional councils and unitary authorities.
- Growth continues to be managed within the RMA framework (through resource consents process).
- Environmental protection measures including an assessment of environmental effects for all proposed aquaculture activities remain.
- Fisheries Act 1996 protection for the interests of commercial, customary and recreational fishers (the UAE test) remain.
- The rights of existing marine farmers are preserved.
- The core components of the Māori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act remain, including the Crown’s settlement obligations and commitment to deliver.
If you are interested in background information on the reforms, please visit background.
The Ministry of Fisheries – Aquaculture Unit will continue to be the Government’s principal advisor on aquaculture issues and will serve as an important resource for local authorities, iwi, environmental interests, the aquaculture industry, and other stakeholders. With the legislative reforms in place, the Aquaculture Unit will develop a national strategy and action plan to foster environmentally sustainable aquaculture in New Zealand. To learn more about the strategy and the Aquaculture Unit’s other activities visit www.aquaculture.govt.nz.