Skip to main content

Aquaculture Reforms

2004 Aquaculture Reforms

The 2004 Aquaculture Reforms were intended to streamline the duel consenting framework by introducing Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs). AMAs were defined areas ring-fenced for aquaculture in Regional Coastal Environment Plans. The concept behind AMAs was to create a single process to approve consents under which adverse effects on fisheries were assessed before aquaculture management areas were defined in coastal plans, removing fishing from the matters to be assessed at consenting stage.

The 2004 amendments and the creation of Aquaculture Management Areas proved unsuccessful, creating significant impediments for both the aquaculture industry and councils in terms of planning for and investing in aquaculture. No new water space was consented for marine farming under the 2004 regime.

2011 Aquaculture Reforms

In 2011 the Government introduced more changes to the legislation surrounding aquaculture as part of Government's economic growth agenda to unlock the economic potential of the industry, increase export earnings and create new jobs.

These aquaculture reforms were designed to:

  • Reduce cost, delays and uncertainty
  • Promote investment in aquaculture development
  • Enable integrated decision making

Under the new regime the Minister for Primary Industries now has a separate responsibility for Aquaculture. An Aquaculture Unit in the Ministry of Primary Industries has been set up as Government’s main advisors on all matters relating to aquaculture.

The main legislative changes include:

  • Removing the requirement for Aquaculture Management Areas
  • Streamlining the Undue Adverse Effects test on fisheries
  • Introducing a minimum 20 year consent term for aquaculture
  • Enabling councils to better manage situations of high demand for water space
  • Removing the ability to make aquaculture activities a permitted activity in a regional plan.

Information on the aquaculture reforms, including technical guidance is available on the Ministry for Primary Industries website.

Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement

The reforms do not alter the core components of the 2004 Maori Commercial Aquaculture settlement, including all rights associated with 20 percent of new aquaculture space created after 1 January 2005.

A new delivery mechanism for settlements has been established. Settlements are delivered on a regional basis through agreements between the Crown and iwi. The settlement may include space, cash or any agreed equivalent.

Links to relevant legislation