In 2012, the Government adopted an aquaculture strategy and 5-year action plan to guide sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector.

Aquaculture strategy

The Government's Aquaculture strategy and five-year action plan supports sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry – balancing our economic, social, cultural and ecological values.

Through the strategy and action plan the Government will:

  • work with councils and the public to plan for sustainable aquaculture growth
  • ensure the laws and processes for setting up and operating aquaculture farms are effective, responsive, and enable investment
  • deliver on the Crown's aquaculture settlement obligations to Māori
  • identify opportunities for improving Māori wellbeing through aquaculture
  • build our knowledge of aquaculture's environmental effects and ensure a healthy aquatic environment
  • maintain and build our animal health and welfare, food safety, and biosecurity standards
  • encourage investment and innovation
  • facilitate discussion between industry, government, Māori, and the public about how aquaculture should grow and be managed.

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Proposed national environmental standard

An important part of the aquaculture strategy is the development of a nationally-consistent framework under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to manage existing marine aquaculture. 

In 2017, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) consulted on a proposed national environmental standard (NES) for marine aquaculture.

An NES is established under the RMA and sets national rules that replace regional council rules. The NES: Marine aquaculture:

  • proposes changes to the re-consenting process for existing marine farms
  • would require all marine farms (existing and new) to have a biosecurity management plan.

In June 2019 Cabinet approved final policy provisions for the drafting of the NES: Marine Aquaculture. Following drafting of the new regulations, the NES: Marine aquaculture will be put in front of Cabinet for a final decision in early 2020.

Action plan to guide sustainable growth

The action plan supports the aquaculture strategy, setting out how the Government will support sustainable growth. Government roles are organised under 7 objectives.

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