About land-based fish farms
This page covers commercial aquaculture above the mean high-water mark of marine and freshwater species. This includes finfish, shellfish, seaweed, and other aquatic life "fish" that will be harvested for sale. You'll need a fish-farm licence if your activities include:
What if I don't plan to sell fish?
You don't need a fish-farm licence if you're not selling your fish or product. However, you'll probably still need to register as a fish farmer. You can do this on the FishServe website.
Activities like pet shops, non-commercial domestic aquaponics, and ponds:
- do not need a fish-farm licence
- do not need to be registered as a fish farmer.
If you want to set up a marine farm
Setting up a farm below the mean high-water mark ("marine farm") follows a different process.
Find out which species you can farm
You can apply for a fish-farm licence for any species listed under the:
If you want to farm a species that is not on the list, you must apply to us to have the species listed.
Stocking your farm
Your stock can only come from:
- another licensed or registered land-based fish farm
- a registered marine farm
- a licensed fish receiver.
You can't take species from natural waters (like the sea, lakes, and rivers) unless they have been commercially caught. You cannot use recreational or customary catch to stock a farm.
Stocking your farm with freshwater species
For freshwater species, contact the Department of Conservation (DOC) to find out if approval is needed before you release the species on the farm.
Requirements to establish a land-based farm
To set up a land-based farm, you need:
- resource consent from the regional council, or a letter from council advising if consent isn't needed
- to notify the fish and game council in the area where the farm will be
- the right to occupy the site
- to register as a client with FishServe
- a fish-farm licence issued by Fisheries New Zealand.
Follow the steps below, or download our guide on getting approval for a fish farm licence.