Pre-application is an important stage which can highlight potential issues at an early stage and may influence the decision whether or not to proceed to full application. Data and modelling can be performed to assess site suitability and potential environmental impact to determine if the investment is worthwhile. Regardless of site suitability, in many areas public opinion is a major barrier to development so prospective applicants can also use the pre-application stage to assess community acceptance. This may be a formal process with community meetings or it could be more informal.

Recommendations for decision making authorities

Regulatory authorities should provide clear, appropriate and comprehensive guidance to the applicant before submission of an application.

This can be in the form of online documents and supporting material, or it may be worthwhile to establish an informal ‘Pre-application Assessment’ which would:

  • Provide advice on compiling an application.
  • Provide advice on utilising modelling tools to assess site suitability and the suitability of the proposal.
  • Consider the financial viability of the project and the business plan.
  • Consider the qualifications of the proposers.
  • Facilitate early modifications of project plans should adjustments need to be made

Recommendations for applicants (aquaculture producers)

If applying for the first time, aquaculture producers should seek guidance from the licensing authorities to identify what would be required for a full application and then assess whether all the necessary resources are available.

Producers may also want to consider:

  • Using models or tools to assess site suitability
  • Using models or tools to assess environmental impact from different scenarios (e.g. different cage layouts)
  • Economic feasibility assessment
  • Informal or formal meetings with local community
  • Interaction with an Aquaculture Liaison Officer for guidance and input on completing the above steps and completing an informal pre-application process prior to submitting a full application.

A good understanding of the costs and benefits of the site, as well as identification of potential issues that may arise during the licensing process, will allow the potential applicant to decide whether it is worth proceeding or if an alternative location should be investigated. The information collected in the pre-application stage can also be used in the formal application.



Modelling tools
Guidance tools