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Minister Coveney Launches New Aquaculture Licence Templates

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today launched new aquaculture and companion foreshore licence templates. The new templates, which are species specific, have been introduced to address the technological, environmental and legal issues that have come to the fore since the first licences were issued under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act, 1997. A new template for the accompanying foreshore licence has also been devised.

The new templates will be introduced as individual licences come up for renewal and as new licences are issued.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister said "the new templates contain significant new terms and conditions which are designed to reflect the technical advances that have taken place in the industry and the enhanced environmental protection now required under EU and national legislation. They will form the basis for sustainable development of the industry and the creation of long-term jobs into the future."

Key new features of the licence templates include:

  • a move to Standing Stock Biomass for finfish as the means of measuring production capacity at an aquaculture site;
  • enhanced provisions on environmental monitoring;
  • greater clarity on the requirements for operators in relation to operational conduct and monitoring;
  • the possibility for the group-marking of sites for navigational purposes;
  • specific provisions covering company registration/dissolution, tax certificates, payment of fees etc.

Information Seminars for industry are currently being rolled out by the Department.

Background Note

1.0    New Aquaculture licence templates have been devised to take account of the technological, environmental and legal issues that have arisen since the first licences were issued under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997 - the core legislation governing aquaculture licensing. The templates were developed by a Working Group established to address these issues. The Working Group consisted of the Department's Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division, Engineering Division, Legal Services Division, the Marine Institute and BIM.

New Template Types

2.0   Seven aquaculture templates have been developed:

  • Marine based shellfish e.g. mussels, typically using longlines
  • Marine based shellfish sea-bed bottom culture e.g. mussels, oysters, scallops - no structures are used
  • Marine based shellfish inter/sub tidal e.g. oysters, typically using bags and trestles
  • Marine based aquatic plants/fish food e.g. seaweed using longlines
  • Marine finfish e.g. salmon, rainbow trout, cod - using cages
  • Land based finfish (freshwater), mainly hatcheries for salmon farms
  • Marine multi species - to provide for cases where multi method or multi species are used e.g. a combination of longlines and trestles, mussels and oysters etc
Core Changes


  • Change from licensing by Annual Harvested Tonnage (i.e. the dead weight of fish harvested from a site in a calendar year measured in tonnes) to Standing Stock Biomass for Finfish (the weight of live fish on a site at any given time, measured in tonnes) Standing Stock Biomass is recognised internationally as the appropriate metric for assessing loading at an aquaculture production site and can be measured on a real time basis thus facilitating effective regulation and management of sites
  • New provision on environmental monitoring taking account that most aquaculture sites are located in Natura 2000 areas - protected by European Birds and Habitats Directives
  • Enhanced requirement in relation to operational conduct and monitoring
  • Potential for sites to be marked on a group basis
  • Licences not assignable for 3 years following grant - except in exceptional circumstance
  • A company incorporated outside the State will be required to register with the CRO within one month of being granted a licence
  • Requirement to produce a current Tax Clearance Certificate on demand
  • A provision that when a company dissolves, its associated Aquaculture Licence cease to exist
  • Licences will be species specific

Date Released: 05 December 2011