Introduction

You must have approval to undertake freshwater fish farming and some types of aquaponics. Get information on the authorisations required.

You must have approval to undertake freshwater fish farming and some types of aquaponics. Information on the authorisations required is provided below.

Freshwater fish farming

Freshwater fish farming is governed by the Ministry for Primary Industries. See their list specifying fish species which may be farmed. If a species is not on the list it cannot be farmed. 

DOC authorises the initial transfer and release of freshwater species to a fish farm.

Aquaponics

Aquaponics is where you use a closed water system to grow fish and plants together using the nutrients of each other. These systems are primarily set up so that the fish and plants can be harvested for food. 

See the rules around undertaking aquaponics for personal use or commercial purposes below. 

Aquaponics for personal use 

If your system is for personal use and the tanks are linked to freshwater you will need to apply to move freshwater species.

If your system is for personal use and the tanks have no inflows or outflows that link to freshwater then you will not need an approval to move freshwater species. 

A fish farm licence is not required if the fish are held for personal use. 

Approvals to possess some species are required. See possessing freshwater species for more information. 

Aquaponics for commercial purposes 

If you are planning to sell the proceeds of your aquaponic operation you will need a fish farm licence from the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The species that are being farmed in commercial aquaponic systems must be listed on the farmable fish list.

If you want to stock your aquaponic system from an existing fish farm you will need to apply to move freshwater species.

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