Leases, licences and permits are now deemed to be coastal permits under the Resource Management Act (RMA). Any conditions on the old authorisation become a condition of the deemed coastal permit.
Marine Farming Act leases and licences become deemed coastal permits for 20 years.
Yes. Councils can choose to review the conditions on former leases, licences or permits, but there is a deadline on this – reviews must begin by 31 December 2005.
The Aquaculture Implementation Team has developed guidance on the type of conditions applicable to deemed coastal permits, Repealed and Transitional Provisions: Guide to Marine Farming Consent Conditions for Deemed Coastal Permits.
Many of the conditions on former leases, licences or permits are no longer appropriate, and are not consistent with the RMA. Councils can remove, modify or add new conditions to make the deemed coastal permit consistent with the RMA. However, they cannot change any conditions that relate to the species that can be farmed, or the area of the marine farm.
Some conditions on old leases or licences may be removed because they are no longer appropriate or relevant. For example, conditions on recordkeeping were common, but are no longer necessary. Other conditions relate to the marine farmer paying an annual charge that is no longer collected.
Because marine farmers must comply with all conditions, regardless of whether they are appropriate, councils are encouraged to review them. The risk is that if an inappropriate condition remained, the council could take enforcement action against the marine farmer. This could adversely affect the farmer’s ability to meet the criteria for ‘good behaviour’ when his or her coastal permit comes up for renewal and someone else has applied first.
Councils can recover the costs of reviewing conditions from the marine farmer. Most councils that intend to do a review have already estimated their costs. Contact your council for advice.
When a coastal permit expires, consent holders who wish to continue farming must apply for a new one. The RMA normally operates under a “first come first served” basis, so the council would consider the first consent application for that space, regardless of who is currently running the farm. There is now a new process in the RMA that prevents existing marine farmers from being “gazumped” by newcomers, provided the farm is still within an AMA, the proposed marine farming operation is substantially the same and he or she meets specified criteria:
If another business puts in a consent application on an existing farm, the current marine farmer will be asked by the council if he or she wants to apply for a permit. If they do, their application will be considered first. However, if the existing marine farmer failed to meet the above criteria, then the next person in line may be considered, and so on.
If there are no competing applications for the same coastal permit, the special criteria will not be used to consider the application to renew the consent.
Holders of leases and licences get a one-off preferential right to apply for a new consent once their 20-year term has expired.
The council decides whether the applicant is using good practice, based on what industry has determined through its codes of practice. The criterion is intended to prevent near-derelict farms from occupying space that a more efficient farm could make better use.
The council will look at the applicant's track record to see if any formal enforcement activity has been successful. The council can only consider enforcement orders, abatement notices, or any Environment Court order.
If you have had successful formal enforcement action taken against you, the council will consider:
All owners of offsite farms have a two-year window from 1 January 2005 to ensure that their marine farm’s physical location matches the consent’s location.
Marine farmers have two options; either amend the consent to coincide with the actual location, or move the farm to match the area of the consent.
If the farmer wishes to amend the consent, he or she must ask the council to do so. The amended consent then becomes a deemed AMA. However, if the actual farm is larger than what the consent allows, the extra area will not fall within an AMA. If a farmer misses this window, then the offsite farm must be moved to the site specified by the consent.
The council can decline to amend the consent if the current location of the farm is undesirable for environmental reasons – for example, if it is over a reef or is impeding navigation. This means that the farm will have to move to where the consent says it should be, and this will be done at the farmer's expense. The farmer may also be responsible for remedying the old site.
Oversized farms will need to be reduced to match the permitted size.
If you suspect your farm is offsite, you should contact your council for advice.
Last updated: 30 August 2006