Aquaculture licensing is now regulated under the Fisheries (Amendment) Act 1997. Persons may be licensed to engage in aquaculture or such operations in relation to aquaculture and subject to such conditions as may be thought fit. A licence maybe granted notwithstanding any public right to fish in the waters to which the licence relate.
The Fisheries Act, 1997 establishes a new framework for the licensing and regulation of aquaculture. Aquacultural licences were provided for earlier legislation may be granted. Aquacultural means the culture of any species of fish, aquatic invertebrate animal of whatever habitat or aquatic form of any food which is suitable for the nutrition of fish.
The person may not engage in aquaculture except under and in accordance with an aquaculture licence. The Agency may grant aquaculture licences within the area. Where it is granted within a privately owned foreshore or fishery the consent of that person is required. There is a procedure for application for an aquaculture licence. The licences can be reviewed and revoked. Procedures apply.
An aquaculture licence application may require an environmental impact statement and assessment if it is determined that it may have a significant effect on the environment. The legislation is the European Union (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Aquaculture) Regulations 2012.
An impact assessment is required for aquaculture within certain categories (based on extent) subject to exceptions. An environmental impact statement shall be submitted in such cases where the Minister determines that the application would be likely to have significant effects on the environment.
The conditions of an aquaculture licence may specify a range of matters including
- monitoring and protection of the health of fish, aquatic invertebrate animals or aquatic plants and the reporting of incidences of disease and the presence of parasites;
- monitoring and inspection of the activities carried on pursuant to the licence;
- the type of ropes, trestles, fish cages or other equipment or structures which may be located within the licensed area;
- the marking, by buoys or otherwise, of the limits of the licensed area or any part of it, or the location of ropes, trestles, fish cages or any structures within the licensed area;
- the keeping of records by the holder of the licence;
- the making of returns and the giving of other information to the Commission in relation to activities in the licensed area;
- the protection of the environment (including the man-made environment of heritage value) and the control of discharges from the licensed area;
- appropriate environmental, water quality and biological monitoring and, in particular, the provision of samples or of facilities for taking samples, in the licensed area;
- the payment of any prescribed fee in relation to the licence.
In relation to the farming and culture of fish conditions may relate to
- the amount of feed inputs,
- annual or seasonal limits on stock inputs and outputs and the amount of stock in the licensed area or any part of it,
- the disposal of dead fish,
- measures for preventing the escape of fish and arrangements for reporting any such escape,
- the movement of fish within, and in to or out of, the licensed area;
An aquaculture licence may, in so far as it is expedient for the purpose of giving effect to any conditions attached to it, exempt—
- the holder of the aquaculture licence and any person acting under his directions, and
- a person who acquires fish of any kind taken in accordance with such conditions,
The licence is usually for between 10 and 20 years’ duration and must be renewed if they are to continue.
A aquaculture licence shall confer on the holder of the licence the exclusive right, in the licensed area, to deposit, introduce, propagate, dredge, harvest and take any fish, aquatic invertebrate animal or aquatic plant which is farmed or cultivated in accordance with the licence.
An aquaculture licence shall not—
- except for the purpose of the farming or cultivation of fish, animals or plants of a kind specified in the licence, affect any right in or over the foreshore or the bed of the sea or any estuary, or any right of several fishery,
- for any purpose, affect any such right of any person which he enjoys under a local or personal Act or under Charter, letters patent, prescription or immemorial usage, without the consent of that person.
An aquaculture licence is not transferable by the holder, but the Commission may transfer it to another person in accordance with section 53L.
A person who by trespass or otherwise fishing interferes with anything being done pursuant to an aquaculture licence is guilty of an offence
An aquaculture licence is a licence to engage in aquaculture or operations in relation to it. An aquaculture licence, trial licence or oyster bed licence or oyster bed fishery order is required for a person to lawfully engage in aquaculture.
An aquaculture licence may be granted by the licensing authority. It specifies the conditions attached to the licence such as:
- specification of the place by way of map concerned;
- annual or seasonal limits of stock outputs, inputs and standing stock;
- reports of incidence of disease and parasites;
- disposal of dead fish;
- preventing fish escapes;
- monitoring inspection of aquaculture;
- Protection of the environment.
A licensing authority may not grant a licence to a person engaged in aquaculture within limits of an oyster bed or oyster fishery which is owned by a private person or to which an oyster bed licence or oyster fishery order relates, unless the private person entitled to the bed or fishery has consented to such licence.
An aquaculture licence is for a period not exceeding 20 years. The licence enables the licensee to carry on in accordance with the terms of the licence, the operations specified.
There is provision for appeal to an Aquaculture Licence Appeals Board. Appeals may be against refusals or conditions.
The licensing authority shall not licence a person to engage in aquaculture within the limits of oyster bed or oyster fishery, the property of any private person without that person’s consent. The authority may licence a person to engage in aquaculture within a several fishery if the person is the owner of the fishery or has the consent of the owner.
There is provision for trial aquaculture licences in freshwater. A person may be authorised to carry out trials on equipment for such periods in the case of salmon, not exceeding one year or in other case not exceeding three years, and subject to such conditions as might be provided. A trial licence may not be reviewed. It may be revoked.
There is provision for application for the licence. There are requirements for an environmental impact statements in some cases.
There is a more elaborate procedure for adjudication on the licence than under earlier fisheries legislation. It is broadly analogous to the provisions of planning and pollution licensing. The authority considers an application and it may grant or refuse it. It must do so within a certain period. There are provisions for extending the period where necessary.
The licensed person is licensed to carry on the licensed operations. He must do so, subject to the conditions of the licence and any regulations made. There is provision for appeals from grants and refusals of licence.
There is provision in relation to foreshore licences for aqua cultural purposes or fish culture licence. The legislation converts these into regular aqua cultural licences.
There is provision for the review of an aquaculture licence. It may be made an application of the licensee at any time within three years commencing on the grant on completion of the review the Minister may alter, amend or attach conditions to the licence or not
The provisions that apply to the grant for an aquaculture licence apply to a review. The Minister may revoke an aquaculture licence if he is satisfied that there has been a breach of condition, the aquaculture operations are not been properly maintained or if it is in the public interest. . 28-days notice is to be given of the proposed revocation.
The Minister must consider representations and may proceed with the revocation or not. In certain cases, the licensee maybe entitled to compensation to be decided in default of agreement under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act.
The Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food are responsible for the issuing of aquaculture licences. They also adMinister companion foreshore licences required for coastal aquaculture operations.
The Aquaculture Licensing Section of the Aquaculture & Foreshore Management Division co-ordinates the administration of licences for:
- Marine finfish: e.g. salmon, rainbow trout, cod
- Land-based finfish: e.g. turbot, perch, salmon hatcheries
- Shellfish: e.g. oysters, mussels, scallops, clams, abalone, sea urchin.
- Cultivation of aquatic plants e.g. seaweed
Other procedures and formalities required to engage in aquaculture in Ireland involve: land based aquaculture may require planning permission and a discharge permit from the local authority. Applications for aquaculture licences may also be subject to environmental assessment if located close to Natura 2000 conservation sites.