About marine farms
This page covers commercial aquaculture below the mean high-water mark ("marine farms"). This includes farming of:
Setting up a farm above the mean high-water mark ("land-based farms") follows a different process.
Find out which species can be farmed
As long as a species is not restricted (for example, if it's a pest), you can farm it in a marine farm. This is different to land-based farms. Land-based farms have a list of approved species that you can farm.
The top 3 marine species farmed in New Zealand are:
- green-lipped mussels (Greenshell™ mussels)
- Pacific oysters
- king (or Chinook) salmon.
Research and trialling is being done for other species, including:
- sea cucumbers
- rock lobsters
Undaria pinnatifida seaweed can also be farmed in some areas.
Undaria seaweed farming
Undaria pinnatifida is a seaweed that was accidentally introduced to New Zealand in the 1980s. It is firmly established in many areas, but is classed as an unwanted organism.
You can farm Undaria with approval from Biosecurity New Zealand. You can only farm it in certain areas that already have heavy growth of it.
This notice provides information and details on the exemption from section s192A(1) of the Fisheries Act 1996 for fish farmers in respect to Undaria.
This policy document has information if you want to farm Undaria.
Use the application form if you want to farm Undaria.
Requirements for starting a marine farm
To set up a new marine farm, you need:
- resource consent (also known as a "coastal permit") from the local council or authority
- our assessment of the potential effect of the farm on fishing (known as an "undue adverse effects test")
- to be a registered farmer.