Setting up a marine farm

Find out how to establish a new marine farm.


This process covers aquaculture below the mean high-water mark, including farming of fish, shellfish, and seaweed.

Setting up a land-based farm above mean high water mark (including those that use seawater) follows a different process.

Find out which species can be farmed

The top 3 marine species farmed in New Zealand are green-lipped mussels (Greenshell™ mussels), Pacific oysters, and king (or Chinook) salmon. Farming of a number of other species, including sea cucumbers, kina, rock lobsters, kingfish, and hāpuku is being researched and trialled, and Undaria can be farmed in some areas.

Undaria farming

Undaria pinnatifida can be farmed with approval from us in certain areas that already have heavy growth of this seaweed.

Requirements to establish 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 fish farmer.

Follow the steps to get approval for a marine farm

Marine farm guide

Fisheries New Zealand has developed a guide to help you set up and operate a marine farm.

The guide includes information on:

  • applying for a new marine farm
  • the government's iwi settlement obligations
  • setting up marine farm structures
  • food safety regulations for aquaculture products
  • external sources of water pollution
  • biosecurity
  • levies and additional fees
  • contacts.

Guide to establishing and operating a marine farm [PDF, 982 KB]

Who to contact

If you have questions about setting up a marine farm, email

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