Marine leasing and licensing

Marine based aquaculture sites must have a lease and a licence. A lease grants the exclusive use of an area of water for marine aquaculture. A licence describes the activity that can be undertaken at the lease site.

Applying for a new lease and licence 

Aquaculture leases within a current aquaculture zone must be endorsed by the Aquaculture Tenure Allocation Board (ATAB) before being assessed by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The role of ATAB is to advise the Minister on:

  • allocations for aquaculture tenure
  • approvals of aquaculture leases within aquaculture zones

through a competitive process.

Applications for aquaculture leases outside a current aquaculture zone must be submitted directly to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Expressions of interest

Write an expression of interest before applying for a licence. An expression of interest is a basic plan for your venture that is assessed by PIRSA for any issues that prevent a full application and assessment being made.

Include the following information in your expression of interest as a minimum:

  1. The species chosen for culture, including the scientific name if known.
  2. The location of the proposed site. Including size in hectares and approximate site corner coordinates.
  3. A description of the farming method that will be used (e.g. longlines, sea-cages).
  4. Your experience/qualifications in aquaculture or primary production. 
  5. Expected tonnage of output once fully established or maximum tonnage the site can hold at full development.

PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture will notify you about your expression of interest. Suitable expressions of interest will be contacted about making a full licence application. PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture may request more information if the expression of interest does not provide enough information to assess it.

Contact the industry association for the species you are interested in for more information.

Send expressions of interest to:
PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture
GPO Box 1625
Adelaide SA 5001
Email: pirsa.aquaculture@sa.gov.au

Leases

There are 4 types of leases:

  • pilot lease
  • production lease
  • research lease
  • emergency lease.

Phone PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture on (08) 8226 0900 to learn more about leases.

Licences

There are 6 types of marine licences for South Australian waters:

1. Intertidal mollusc licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters close to the shore where stock is sometimes submerged and sometimes exposed to air. Oysters and algae are commonly authorised on this licence, with farming structures including baskets on racks and rails, and longlines. 

2. Subtidal mollusc licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters offshore where stock is always submerged, typically on longlines. The main species are:

  • mussels
  • scallops
  • oysters
  • algae.

3. Abalone licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters offshore where stock is always submerged. Abalone and algae are the main species authorised on this licence, using variable farming structures.

4. Finfish licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters offshore where stock is always submerged, typically in sea-cages. The main species are: 

  • yellowtail kingfish
  • mulloway
  • snapper.

5. Tuna licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters offshore where stock is always submerged, typically in sea-cages. Tuna Southern bluefin tuna is the main species on this licence.

6. Miscellaneous licence

Authorises aquaculture in waters:

  • holding empty aquaculture farming structures
  • temporary holding of stock in structures.

Stock cannot be fed on the site with miscellaneous licences.

More information

See the marine lease and licence holder responsibilities.

Page Last Reviewed: 16 Feb 2015
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