Marine Aquaculture Lease / Licence - South Australia


You will need a lease and licence to operate an aquaculture farm in South Australian waters for the purposes of trade, business or research. A lease will grant you the exclusive use of an area of water for marine aquaculture, and a licence will allow you to undertake the marine aquaculture activity at the leased site.

There are four types of marine aquaculture leases:

  • Pilot leases are short-term leases used to trial aquaculture development in new areas.
  • Production leases are long-term leases used by aquaculture operators in existing aquaculture zones for established operations.
  • Research leases are used within or outside an existing aquaculture zone to increase, enhance or diversify aquaculture production.
  • Emergency leases are granted within or outside an existing aquaculture zone where it is necessary for the protection of the environment or the preservation of endangered aquaculture stock.

Aquaculture leases within a current aquaculture zone must be endorsed by the Aquaculture Tenure Allocation Board before being assessed by the agency.

There are six types of marine aquaculture licence:

  • Intertidal mollusc licences authorise the farming of molluscs and algae, including oysters.
  • Subtidal mollusc licences authorise the farming of molluscs and algae offshore, including mussels, scallops and oysters.
  • Abalone licences authorise the farming of abalone and algae offshore.
  • Finfish licences authorise the farming of finfish offshore in sea-cages.
  • Tuna licences authorise the farming of Southern Bluefin Tuna and algae offshore in sea-cages.
  • Miscellaneous licences authorise aquaculture for the purposes of holding empty aquaculture farming structures, holding stock in structures temporarily, or tourism.

You will need separate authorisation to move stock into, out of or within South Australia.

You made need separate authorisation to use hormones or veterinary chemicals on the aquaculture site.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for this lease / licence, you must:

  • provide a bank guarantee of $10,000, unless you are a member of an approved indemnity scheme
  • hold public liability insurance in the amount of $10 million.

You will need to undertake aquaculture activities in compliance with the sector-based aquaculture strategy adopted under the licence, or your individual aquaculture strategy approved in relation to the licence. An aquaculture strategy must specify strategies adopted to:

  • maintain farming structures and other equipment
  • avoid or minimise and respond to disease or escape of aquaculture stock
  • avoid or minimise and respond to adverse impacts on seabirds or large marine vertebrates
  • deal with dead aquaculture stock
  • deal with inspection or monitoring of the licence area.

Ongoing eligibility requirements

You will need to maintain a stock register containing information about:

  • aquatic organisms supplied to you
  • aquatic organisms collected by you
  • the movement of aquatic organisms from one licence area to another
  • aquatic organisms supplied by you to another person
  • aquatic organisms that have died in the course of aquaculture activities carried out under the licence
  • therapeutic or healthcare treatment administered to aquatic organisms kept under the licence.

You will need to submit to the agency each financial year:

  • a production return, even if there has been no activity on the licensed site
  • an environmental report (a blank report will be sent to you for you to fill out and return).


From 1 to 20 years, depending on lease type. The licence is valid for the duration of the lease.


Fees Details for this service in table format.

Task Type Business Structure Description
Apply Application All

Fees can be found in the attached document.


Transfer process


Only certain types of marine leases / licences may be transferred.

Administering agency

Department of Primary Industries and Regions

Fisheries and Aquaculture Division

Contact details

Contact Email, Phone and Address Details for this service in simple two column table format, header then data.