Undue adverse effects test
MPI assesses the effects of a proposed marine farm on fishing through the undue adverse effects test. Find out about the test, what it covers, and the decision process.
About the undue adverse effects test
Before setting up a marine farm, you must apply for a resource consent (also known as a coastal permit) from the relevant regional council.
If the council grants resource consent, it will ask MPI for an undue adverse effects test (UAE test). The UAE test will assess the potential effects of your marine farm on recreational, customary, and commercial fishing.
UAE test results
The outcome of the UAE test is called an aquaculture decision. The aquaculture decision determines whether your farm's resource consent is confirmed – allowing the farm to go ahead. Fees and charges apply for all aquaculture decisions.
A proposed marine farm can't be developed if it would have undue adverse effects on recreational, customary, or commercial fishing (unless you make an aquaculture agreement with the quota holders).
Find out more
When assessing effects under the UAE test, MPI considers:
- the location of the proposed farm in relation to fishing areas
- the likely effect of the proposed marine farm on fishing, including the proportion of any fishery that would be affected
- how much the proposed farm would exclude fishing
- whether an affected species could be fished in other areas
- how much the proposed marine farm would increase the cost of fishing
- the cumulative effect on fishing of any authorised aquaculture.
What the UAE test doesn't cover
The UAE test is limited to the practicalities of fishing, so MPI can't consider things like:
- general navigation issues that could affect both fishing and non-fishing vessels
- effects on the enjoyment of fishing or whether a marine farm would affect views while fishing.
Effects outside the scope of the UAE test are considered under a resource consent. If you want to make a submission about these effects, send it to the council that is considering the resource consent.
The aquaculture decision
The result of the UAE test is called an aquaculture decision. Aquaculture decisions can be:
- a determination (a green light) – if effects on fishing aren't undue
- a reservation (an amber light) – for undue effects on commercial fishing for quota management system stocks
- an aquaculture agreement or compensation declaration is needed before the area can be developed
- a reservation (a red light) – if effects on recreational, customary or commercial fishing (for a non-QMS species) are undue.
Find out more about:
- aquaculture agreements – fact sheet [PDF, 463 KB]
- the arbitration and compensation process – fact sheet [PDF, 725 KB]
You can view a list of aquaculture applications that MPI is currently assessing, including the status of aquaculture decisions and application details.
List of aquaculture applications under consideration [XLSX, 15 KB]
Aquaculture decisions are notified:
- in the New Zealand Gazette
- to the requesting council
- to the resource consent holder
- to people who gave information or were consulted for the UAE test.
Aquaculture decision reports are published by MPI.
List of recent aquaculture decisions [XLS, 86 KB]
Subscribe to alerts
To receive an email alert when new resource consent applications or recent aquaculture decisions are added, email UAE@mpi.govt.nz
If you want to be notified about progress on a specific resource consent:
- email UAE@mpi.govt.nz
- phone 03 548 1069 (MPI Nelson office)
Decisions can be judicially reviewed
An aquaculture decision can be judicially reviewed by the High Court. You must lodge a judicial review within 30 working days following notification. The decision won't be complete until after the judicial review timeframe or completion of a judicial review.
An aquaculture decision can be tied to conditions of the resource consent.
Councils can't change a condition of a resource consent if it is tied to an aquaculture decision, unless another aquaculture decision shows the change wouldn't have an undue adverse effect.
When to expect an aquaculture decision
MPI must make an aquaculture decision within 20 working days of the request from a council. This timeframe excludes time:
- to consult on an application or to seek additional information
- to notify an aquaculture decision
- for judicial review proceedings
- to make a decision on a prior request for an aquaculture decision that affects the same fish stocks or fishery.
MPI makes aquaculture decisions in the order received. If 2 or more requests are received from the same authority at the same time, then the authority specifies the order of processing. We can only make an aquaculture decision out of order if it won't adversely affect another requested decision.
Public may be asked for information
If MPI asks for information for a UAE test, stakeholders can provide information on fishing activity in the proposed marine farm area. Information should be relevant to the 6 points covered by the UAE test.
All information provided may be released, if requested, under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). If you don't want your information released, provide clear reasons with your information. MPI will consider your reasons when assessing release of information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.
Resources for applicants and fishers
A range of information is available to support applicants or fishers wanting to provide information for a UAE test.
- Maps of commercial inshore fishing activity
- Stock assessment plenary reports – MPI InfoSite
- Document library – MPI InfoSite
- Fisheries Act 1996 – NZ Legislation website
Aquaculture decision reports and submissions (in report appendices) are available in the:
- Recent aquaculture decisions [XLS, 86 KB]
- Aquaculture applications under consideration [XLSX, 15 KB]
Registered aquaculture agreements can be requested from FishServe.
NABIS is an online mapping tool that can be used to assess the suitability of a marine farm site.
- National Aquatic Biodiversity Information System (NABIS)
- Using NABIS layers for marine farm assessment [PDF, 563 KB]
Find out more
- Undue adverse effects test on fishing – fact sheet [PDF, 430 KB]
- Administration of aquaculture decisions – fact sheet [PDF, 881 KB]
Who to contact
If you have questions about the undue adverse effects test or aquaculture decisions:
- email UAE@mpi.govt.nz
- phone 03 548 1069 (Nelson Regional Office).