Fisheries New Zealand is the government's principal adviser on aquaculture. We support the New Zealand aquaculture industry, ensuring that it develops in a sustainable way.

New Zealand aquaculture

Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic plants and animals and can be marine or land-based.

The New Zealand Government supports well-planned and sustainable aquaculture growth. It's committed to helping industry achieve its goal of $1 billion in annual sales by 2025. But it's essential aquaculture growth:

  • takes place within acceptable environmental limits
  • respects other uses and values of our waterways and marine environment.

Our role

Fisheries New Zealand has a range of responsibilities related to aquaculture. We:

  • are the government's principal adviser on aquaculture issues
  • support sustainable development of the industry through an aquaculture strategy and action plan
  • work with Crown agencies to develop and manage legislation, regulation and national policy for aquaculture
  • are the lead Crown agency responsible for implementing the Māori aquaculture settlement
  • assess new marine farms for their effect on recreational, customary and commercial fishing
  • prevent unwanted pests and diseases in aquatic environments (maintain biosecurity)
  • manage land-based aquaculture (including movements of aquatic organisms on and off farms)
  • provide information and support for food safety issues.

Find out more

Planning and consenting

Marine aquaculture development is primarily managed by regional councils (and unitary authorities) under regional coastal plans.

Land-based aquaculture (for example, using tanks) is managed by:

  • regional councils (and unitary authorities) under regional plans
  • district councils (and unitary authorities) under district plans
  • us through fish farm licences and authorisations to move stock on and off farms.

The plans help councils identify areas where applications for aquaculture development are appropriate, and how applications will be assessed.

The planning and approval process for a new marine or land-based farm looks at the farm's potential environmental, social, economic and cultural effects.

Resource consent needed for aquaculture

Resource consent is needed for any new aquaculture development – this gives approval for an activity that uses a natural resource or affects the environment.

Before consent can be given, the effects of an aquaculture development are assessed by the relevant council through a process known as 'consenting'.

Find out about getting approval to set up a:

Resources for councils

To get approval to set up a marine farm, applicants must have a coastal permit (a type of resource consent) from their council. Fisheries New Zealand has guidance notes available to help councils:

  • assess applications for resource consent for marine aquaculture
  • understand their options and requirements when managing aquaculture, including how to assess the effects of aquaculture on fisheries resources.

Who to contact

If you have questions about aquaculture, email

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