Pre-application recommendations for decision making authorities
Establish a pre-application step for all applications, including a business capacity assessment (financial and operational) and a tool to self-check if an application complies with all the regulations. This could be facilitated by an aquaculture liaison or development officer who would provide guidance and input in the planning stages.
Detail clearly the steps involved in the process to apply for each of the licence categories to become an aquaculture producer.
Prepare and make available clear, up to date and concise guidance documents, hosted in a central location.
Establishment of regional liaison officers to direct applicants to appropriate tools, and assist with and offer guidance on applications prior to and during submission.
Create an online or E-Licensing system for managing applications in a clear and transparent way, to reduce duplication in the process.
Introduce a single licensing expert (one-stop shop) to process and complete the application, in collaboration with the applicant and the other responsible authorities, once the application is submitted.
Provide access for all stakeholders to national spatial plans, maps and models to assist applicants is site assessments and identification, including documentation to assist with guidance and interpretation.
A pre-application assessment would ensure the suitability and completeness of the application, reducing delays in administration and decision making. This could be carried out before submission by having the applicant meet with an aquaculture liaison officer, or similar, during the planning phase of the project. This step would be part of the business planning and not part of the application. Access to and expertise on the use of planning models and tools could be provided by this liaison. This could be facilitated by an aquaculture liaison or development officer who would provide guidance and input in the planning stages.
A Liaison Officer role would greatly assist producers – particularly SMEs and micro-enterprises - with applications which can often be complex and burdensome.
Clear and concise guidance documents for applicants to provide clarity in the steps and documentation involved in the process for each of the licence categories will make the process easier to navigate and more transparent.
A single licencing expert that is assigned to each application as they are received and can follow the application through the process, and liaise others involved in the process on behalf of the application, will make the process quicker and more streamlined. This one-stop-shop model has been lauded in other jurisdictions.
An electronic system or portal accessible by all relevant consultees will reduce in the need for duplication of documentation through the process and between agencies by having all the required information in one place, accessible as needed. Transparency could be achieved between applicants and decision makers regarding the documentation needed and the progress of applications but also for other stakeholders having appropriate information open to the public on the online portal.