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Photo: Marine Harvest.Photo: Marine Harvest

Licence requirements in aquaculture

01.01.2014 // Engaging in aquaculture and sea ranching activities in Norway requires a licence and an aquaculture site. An aquaculture licence is a set of rights and obligations for the holder of the licence.

Aquaculture and sea ranching include a number of different activities where licences are required. Production of salmon and rainbow trout is the most common activity, but there is also production of cod and halibut, scallops, European lobster (sea ranching) and blue mussels.

Anyone can apply for an aquaculture licence. A licence is an administrative decision and is offered to applicants who meet the requirements specified in the rules and regulations governing aquaculture activities.  Licences for the production of blue mussels, cod and halibut and sea ranching are free and can in principle be applied for at all times. These rules are laid down in the regulations for authorisation for aquaculture of other species than salmon, trout and rainbow trout.

Aquaculture licences for salmon, trout and rainbow trout are allocated in allocation rounds as decided by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. These licences are limited in number and are subject to payment of a licence fee.

The maximum allowable biomass per licence is 780 tons, except in the counties of Troms and Finnmark where the maximum allowable biomass per licence is 900 tons. There are also biomass limitations on the individual production sites. The biomass limitation varies from site to site and is determined by the carrying capacity of the site.

Case handling of aquaculture licences 

The application for allocating a site goes through an extensive application process, with the county acting as the coordinating authority.

On receiving a completed application, the county municipality forwards it to the local authorities and other relevant sector authorities for evaluation. This is done to ensure that the final decision is based on the best available knowledge. The sector authorities are: the Directorate of Fisheries, the local Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian Costal Administration, the County Governor and in some cases the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate. The county makes its final decision based on the outcome of the different authorities’ assessments, decisions and the Aquaculture Act. Case handling must not take longer than 22 weeks in total. See figure below: Case handling of aquaculture applications. 


Case handling of aquaculture applications





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