Start now on the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development website
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