Apply for this licence

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You need a fish culture licence to operate a fish or shell fish farm in Northern Ireland.

You need a licence if you want to run a:

  • freshwater inland based fish farm
  • marine shellfish farm (you’ll also need a shellfish fishery licence)
  • marine fin fish farm (you’ll also need a marine fish fishery licence)
  • fin fish enclosed water re-circulation system
  • shellfish enclosed water re-circulation system

You must be authorised as an aquaculture production business before a fish culture licence can be granted.

How to apply

Get a form by calling the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).

Telephone: 0300 200 7852
Find out about call charges

Completed forms should be returned to the Fisheries Division in DARD.

Contact DARD to check if a proposed marine site is available.

You must send supporting information with your licence application, including:

  • proof of site ownership or lease, or that proof that negotiations for a site are underway and will be completed before the licence is issued
  • a chart or map defining the exact location of the proposed farm
  • approvals from the Planning Service, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, and the Crown Estate Commissioners or other owner of the seabed
  • a water discharge consent and abstraction licence, or confirmation that both have been applied for
  • a business plan for proposed development

If the application is for a marine fin fish farm you also need to send: - an environmental impact assessment - a Marine Licence

Fines and penalties

You may be fined up to £2,500 if you operate a fish farm without permission, or do not follow your licence conditions.

*[DARD] Department of Agriculture and Rural Development