Authorisation of aquaculture production business

Aquaculture production businesses must be authorised by DAERA. Fisheries stocked with aquaculture animals for angling purposes only and other non-commercial aquaculture production businesses must be registered with DAERA. In addition, fish farms in Northern Ireland are required to hold a valid fish culture licence.

Authorisation of aquaculture production businesses

Under the Aquatic Animal Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009, all aquaculture production businesses (APBs) must be authorised by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

APBs will normally include the following:

  • finfish farms
  • shellfish farms
  • crustacean farms
  • shellfish dispatch centres
  • shellfish purification centres
  • establishments processing aquaculture animals for disease control purposes
  • premises holding ornamental aquatic animals with direct contact with natural waters
  • any other installations holding aquaculture animals other than those installations which are required to be registered

Biosecurity plan

A biosecurity plan should be submitted with all applications for authorisation. DAERA has produced a biosecurity measure plan checklist to provide some guidelines on the issues that need to be addressed in the documented biosecurity plan for your fish farm

Further information on these plans can be obtained by contacting the Fisheries Inspectorate:

Email: fish.health@daera-ni.gov.uk 
Tel: 028 44 618090

Registration of put and take fisheries and non-commercial installations

The Aquatic Animal Health Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 provide that any fisheries stocked with aquaculture animals for angling purposes only (in effect, put and take fisheries) and other aquaculture production businesses in which aquatic animals are kept with no intention of placing them on the market (in effect, non-commercial installations) must be registered with DAERA rather than authorised. 

Applications for authorisation or registration

It is an offence to operate an aquaculture production business without a valid authorisation, or to operate an unregistered put and take fishery or non-commercial installation.

Applications should be made to DAERA by completing the appropriate form. You must apply using the appropriate form:

A guide on applications for authorisation or registration of APBs has been produced by DAERA.

If you are not clear as to whether your business is required to be authorised or registered you should seek advice from DARD's Fisheries Inspectorate at fish.health@daera-ni.gov.uk or at 028 44 618090

Requirement to hold a fish culture licence

In addition to the requirement to hold a valid authorisation or registration, fish farms in Northern Ireland are required to hold a valid Fish Culture Licence issued under Section 11 of the Fisheries Act (Northern Ireland) 1966.

A guide to the fish culture licensing process has been produced by DAERA.

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