Establishing Legal, Institutional and
Regulatory Framework for Aquaculture
Development and Management

Annick Van Houtte2

Legal Officer, FAO, Rome, Italy

Van Houtte, A. 2001. Establishing legal, institutional and regulatory framework for aquaculture development and management. In R.P. Subasinghe, P. Bueno, M.J. Phillips, C. Hough, S.E. McGladdery & J.R. Arthur, eds. Aquaculture in the Third Millennium. Technical Proceedings of the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium, Bangkok, Thailand, 20-25 February 2000. pp. 103-120. NACA, Bangkok and FAO, Rome.

ABSTRACT: Aquaculture raises legal and institutional issues because it is an activity that impinges on natural resources and matters at the heart of most legal regimes. Aquaculture interacts with the environment, being dependent on land, water and aquatic species, and causing environmental changes. It also must produce a product safe for human consumption in domestic or foreign markets. Therefore, the development and management of aquaculture is likely to fall within the scope of various pieces of legislation and the expertise of various institutions. In recent years, these features have been central to the evolution of the law of aquaculture.

This paper identifies, actual institutional and legal practices, as well as the legal and institutional changes in regimes governing aquaculture, that have taken place over the last decade. It provides a comparative account of some new features and on-going shifts in different countries. For government bodies, the use of law to promote sustainable aquaculture is not an easy task, and law is only one amongst a number of mechanisms that may be required to secure this objective. Faced with an environmental challenge, it involves multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches. Any belief that a legal prohibition of unacceptable behaviour will solve an environmental concern is erroneous.

Faced with the increasing difficulty in regulating aquaculture because of the numerous interests involved, the diversity of natural resources used and the variety of institutions concerned, increasing importance and recognition are awarded to issues such as local and private/semi-private aquaculture management; sustainable aquaculture management; use and planning; improved design and awarding of aquaculture leases; more frequent adoption of codes of practices, guidelines or other soft law instruments; and involvement of a wider range of stakeholders from both public and private sectors.

Aquaculture activities need to be carefully monitored and controlled. Some countries are witnessing the early development of a qualified inspectorate with sufficient powers of inspection and resources. Even more important, however, is the need to recognize that compliance is in the collective self-interest of all members of the aquaculture sector. Space is also being made for various mechanisms of individual or collective “self regulation”. Conclusions and recommendations are made in summary of the subject matter reviewed.

KEY WORDS: Aquaculture, Legislation, Regulatory Frameworks, Institutional Arrangements, Law




“9.1.1 States should establish, maintain and develop an appropriate legal and administrative framework which facilitates the development of responsible aquaculture.” Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), Article 9


In the preparation of this review, primary focus has been placed on those laws and regulations directly governing aquaculture activity. At this stage, and in the light of the other thematic reviews undertaken under the auspices of this Conference, this review has not taken into consideration those laws dealing with the aquaculture product (disease control, health management, quality and safety), genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the marketing and trade thereof. Likewise primary reliance has been put on materials based in the Legal Office of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and those made available by the panel members.

Part I - a legal regime for aquaculture


Setting the scene

Aquaculture has been practised for many centuries, but surprisingly the legal regime governing aquaculture has only recently (over the last 15 years) received detailed attention. This is quite remarkable given that much of the aquaculture activity impinges on matters at the heart of most legal systems. It will be, for example, directly affected by the land laws, including the use of public domains, such as foreshore or mangrove areas, the water laws, environmental laws, animal health and animal disease laws, fish and game laws, and trade laws, as well as others applying more generally (e.g. public health and sanitary laws, import and export laws, tax laws etc.3).

In recent years growing attention has been given to the role of law and legal institutions in aquaculture development. Numerous countries have enacted specific rules relating to aquaculture under an aquaculture-specific legislative text4, under a basic fisheries law5, under a water law 6 or under another piece of legislation7.


In the latter cases, the existing legislation has a broad application, i.e. laws and similar regulations have been adopted to cover fisheries or water in general, rather than aquaculture specifically. These laws tend to set up some principles on aquaculture and then invest the legitimate authority with the power to regulate aquaculture. On the other hand, the last decade has witnessed a steady increase of countries enacting either:

  • a particular act and/or regulation dealing with aquaculture or a certain type of aquaculture, or
  • a specific point relating to this activity8.

In doing so, these countries often responded to a precise need. Crucial questions frequently regulated relate to:

  • access to aquaculture,
  • fish health,
  • collection of information,
  • registration of aquaculture,
  • the import of seed, and
  • special environmental aspects.

Few countries were found with solely an enabling clause on aquaculture, i.e. countries which, while not having a special law, section or provision on aquaculture, have vested the power to regulate this activity in a Minister or Director. In a few developing countries in Africa, this is a common situation9 . Some countries are in the process of drafting a specific set of rules for aquaculture, for example, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Malaysia, Malta, Morocco, Thailand and Vietnam.

The status and progress of laws on aquaculture do not always reflect the importance of the activity (including the importance of fish in national diet, employment or economic values). This is the case of Bangladesh and Vietnam, where fisheries resources, though of great importance, have been governed virtually entirely by ad hoc policies. However, this does not mean that aquaculture is not regulated in one way or another. Land laws, water laws, environmental regulations etc. can have an effect on aquaculture and the conditions of its development, which, in some situations, can be decisive.

In some countries, the rules set up for aquaculture follow the public/private water or the sea/freshwater classification. This situation is common in France, the Republic of Moldavia, Myanmar, Syria and New Zealand.




Scope of the legislation: a few words

The review conducted (and still being conducted) shows that countries where a degree of aquaculture development has taken place have built up a legal framework which, in one way or another, allows for control of the access to and operation of aquaculture activities. It also sets the institutional framework and orientations for the management of aquaculture activity. In relation to the operation of aquaculture facilities, such a legal framework provides a means of preventing or curing the problem of pollution caused and suffered by aquaculture.

The diversity and complexity of the legal frameworks among the countries taken into consideration may depend on the:

  • legal status of waters used (public or privately owned)10;
  • nature of the waters used (marine/brackish vs. fresh water)11;
  • legal status and the nature of the land used (coastal area vs. inland, private vs. public)12;
  • need for a government to regulate aquaculture in general or a specific aquaculture activity13; and
  • different questions it is called upon to deal with (use of natural/chemical feed, wild/hatched seed, fish health management14 effluents, restoration etc.).

No considerable disparity was found between legislation governing marine and freshwater aquaculture. The diversity lays mostly in the authorizing and enforcement authority (Cyprus, Israel).

A major threshold question regarding the establishment of a legal regime of aquaculture: a definition of aquaculture

A major threshold question regarding the establishment of a legal regime for aquaculture is how aquaculture should be defined. It is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as the “cultivation of plants and breeding of animals in water” and the Encyclopaedia Britannica as “the cultivation of the natural produce of water (as fish or shellfish)”. These definitions seem straightforward enough, though for legal purposes, they may be insufficient.

The Aquaculture Steering Committee of the Fisheries Department defined aquaculture in the following terms:

  Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Farming implies some sort of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated. For statistical purposes, aquatic organisms which are harvested by an individual or corporate body which has owned them throughout their rearing period contribute to aquaculture while aquatic organisms which are exploitable by the public as a common property resource, with or without appropriate licences, are the harvest of fisheries.

In this definition, the emphasis on ownership, if only for statistical purposes, has the consequence of excluding from the definition several aquaculture activities which would almost certainly be included in the dictionary definition, or even in legal definitions, for it is the nature of the activity rather than the often elusive equation of ownership which is central concern. Furthermore, this definition seems to overlook the fact that aquaculture is the propagation and husbandry of aquatic plants and animals for commercial, recreational and scientific purposes. This includes production for supplying other aquaculture operations, for food and industrial products, for stocking sport fisheries, for producing aquatic bait animals, for fee fishing, for ornamental purposes and for use by the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. These activities can occur both in natural waters and in artificial aquatic impoundments.

Throughout the legislative texts consulted, aquaculture is invariably also called “fish farming”, “fish culture”, or “mariculture”, and sometimes becomes an approximation to agriculture. The latter status appears to be influenced by the location of the aquaculture activity (inland vs. coastal, fresh water vs. marine), the legislative point being dealt with (animal disease, sanitary rules) or the jurisdiction of the government institution responsible for aquaculture. A clear status, therefore, is not always accorded to aquaculture. For instance, a fisheries-based law falls under an ambiguous definition covering both fisheries and aquaculture 15.

There is little uniformity in the definitions provided, and this is well-illustrated by some of the different legal definitions currently in use:

“Aquaculture means rearing (cultivation) of aquatic species aiming at their economical exploitation”16




Fishing is defined as “any operation involving the rearing, capture or extraction of animals or plants, whose livelihood is most normally or most frequently marine (marine fisheries) or freshwater or brackish water (freshwater fisheries)”. A concession is required for the establishment of “établissements de pêche” which are defined as “any establishment supplied with sea water, freshwater, or brackish water with the view to capture, rear and culture of marine or freshwater animals and plants on the public domain.”17

“A fishing activity is any lawful operation in support of extracting, catching and rearing of aquatic organisms. Aquaculture is defined as the rearing or breeding of aquatic organisms (fish, mollusc, crustaceans, seaweed, etc.) under human control including the harvesting, processing, transport, sale and consumption thereof.” 18

“Fish culture means any operation involving the maintenance, propagation or promotion of growth of fish, in captivity within the waters of China, HongKong SAR.”19

“Fish farming’’--- (a) Means the activity of breeding, hatching, cultivating, rearing, or ongrowing of fish, aquatic life, or seaweed for harvest; but (b) Does not include--- (i) Any such activity where fish, aquatic life, or seaweed are not within the exclusive and continuous possession or control of the fish farmer; or (ii) Any such activity where the fish, aquatic life, or seaweed being farmed cannot be distinguished, or kept separate, from naturally occurring fish, aquatic life, or seaweed; -- and “to farm’’ has a corresponding meaning and includes any operation in support of, or in preparation for, any fish farming”.20

“Aquaculture means the propagation of fish seed or the raising of fish through husbandry during the whole or part of its life cycle.” 21

“Aquaculture a form of agriculture which is the controlled cultivation of aquatic plants, animals and micro-organisms.” 22

“Aquaculture means the rearing or culture of aquatic organisms using techniques designed to increase the production of the organisms in question beyond the natural capacity of the environment; the organisms remain the property of a natural or legal person throughout the rearing or culture stage, up to and including harvesting.” 23

  In light of the above, one may ask whether or not a universal definition for aquaculture is necessary. It may be easier to handle aquaculture, from a legal (and institutional) point of view, as a fisheries-related activity or as an agricultural activity. Aquaculturists often wonder why they are not offered the same protections afforded agricultural practices. Likewise, experiences have shown that the amount of governmental agencies with jurisdiction over aquaculture may be reduced or increased, in accordance with a definition of aquaculture. The role a legal definition of aquaculture is likely to play also needs to be closely examined. And finally, when a legal definition of aquaculture is being prepared, collateral issues (e.g. relating to the aquaculture facility or the aquaculture product) also need to be taken into account and covered by the appropriate legislation.

Sustainable aquaculture

Another element for discussion is the imperative for sustainable aquaculture. The Bruntland Commission (the World Commission on Environment and Development) in its report Our Common Future states that sustainable development is:

“development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of “needs”, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs”

While the concept of “sustainable development” as well as “sustainable aquaculture” per se is widely endorsed, it is convenient to note that the latter concept is not formally defined at any point in the laws consulted. Indeed the concept of sustainable development is a central objective of:

  • many laws24;
  • approaches towards decision-making processes in aquaculture (e.g. provisions on planning for aquaculture25, integrated management processes including coastal zone management26, participatory approaches27);
  • purposes for establishing subsidiary legislation28 ; and
  • respective legal duties/commitments of aquaculturists and the government29.




All have to contribute to reach a balance between the need for environmental protection and economic development, between interests of present stakeholders, and between present and future generations.

With respect to the respective duties of government and aquaculturists to ensure that aquaculture is sustainable, it was noted that roles tend to be formulated in an indicative manner rather than in an imperative manner. The latter is more common in developed countries30. At the time of writing legislation governing aquaculture in 198931, the main obligations demanded of aquaculturists were to:

  • provide information on production;
  • grant access by authorized government officials to an aquaculture site;
  • start the exploitation, or not to stop it for a stated duration;
  • mark or delimit the concession/lease area; and, last but not least,
  • pay the licence/registration/permit fee(s).

Now the idea of sustainable aquaculture is gaining importance and underpinning the duties of aquaculturists. For example, practitioners generating pollution, disease or other environ-mental adversity are firmly restricted or prohibited from undertaking aquaculture. In addition, there is an increasing tendency to subject aquaculturists to environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes before and during the operational phase32. Numerous conditions attached to an aquaculture authorization now relate to the collection and use of wild seed; the quantity and quality of feed; chemicals; placing and changing of equipment; the restoration of a site; emergency/alert systems; and the discharge and deposit of sludge, stone or other deleterious matter.

As far as government authorities are concerned, the concept of sustainable development underlies:

  • aquaculture planning activities,
  • aquaculture site allocation processes,
  • participation in the decision-making processes, and
  • the delegation of authority for the management of aquaculture developments.

This view takes into account the wide diversity of interests relating to fisheries, land and water resource use, as well as conservation, in the move towards a looser notion of public ownership of natural resources.

  The granting of concessions/leases as a method of aquaculture management, accompanied with recognition of private and community rights over ownership and use of land and water resources on which aquaculture is depending33 reflects this approach.

However, this trend is not common to all parts of the world. A recent review among the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea pointed out that the concept of sustainability, with the exception of Albania, Croatia and Greece, did not really underpin the legal framework governing aquaculture34.

Even if a harmonized approach towards the concept of “sustainable aquaculture” would exist world-wide, a threshold question is whether, in the light of the diversity of options available to a government, differences in opinion about what is “sustainable” will draw countries away from the strictest intent of the approach?

Outstanding new features and shifts in legislation governing aquaculture

The problems of studying the legal regime of aquaculture were brought out very strongly in the first attempt to look at the subject undertaken by the Development Law Service in 1989, which was entitled “A Preliminary Review of Selected Legislation Governing Aquaculture, written by A. Van Houtte, N. Bonucci and
W. Edeson.

This section looks into the major changes that have occurred in national legislation concerning aquaculture and the potential consequences these may have. In summary, the legislation reviewed reflects new attention to:

  • environmental and social responsibility for management of those natural resources on which aquaculture development depends; and
  • the production processes required to meet public and consumer expectations.

Outstanding features and shifts in legislation include (but are not limited to) the elements below.

Reforms in planning for aquaculture

One of the features of the present period is that increasingly, more countries have introduced elements of planning for aquaculture, taking into account the need to manage an economic activity as well as environmental interests, and have streamlined the use of environmental impact assessment as a tool for aquaculture planning and management35.




During the 1989 review referred to above, it was observed that very few countries (especially developing countries) have established plans for aquaculture development. Laws were aimed, instead, at orienting the development of the industry, for instance location wise, species wise or aquaculture techniques wise.

Further, in the planning process for aquaculture, governments have established consultation procedures with various parties interested in aquaculture development, for example, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), industry, scientists and producers’ organizations.

An attempt towards a coordinated authorization system for aquaculture

All countries under review require government authorization to engage in aquaculture36. Such authorization may fall under different terminology: authorization, licence, permit, lease and concession. Bearing in mind the different resources aquaculture depends on, and the fact that these resources are at the heart of other legal regimes, some governments may attempt to streamline the authorization procedures, for example via:
  • designation of a lead agency;
  • clearly defined procedures and information requirements;
  • specified criteria to assess proposals; and
  • simplified lines of action.

Although authorization is still most often provided under the fisheries legislation37 and/or some form of aquaculture-specific regulation38, it appears that the general plea from the aquaculture industry for a single government agency dedicated to aquaculture (development and operation) is beginning to be heard. In some countries, like Albania, permits for access to land and water are merged into a general aquaculture authorization, under a fisheries law. This was made possible because the authorization is issued by a board constituted under the Committee of Environmental Protection and grouping representatives of various ministries concerned. A similar, so-called “scoping” procedure, was instituted in Sri Lanka, Mexico and Madagascar to ease the receipt of approvals from several government agencies covering different mandates.

  Where public lands are put aside specifically for aquaculture procedures, one authority is often responsible for the development and operation of aquaculture39. Conversely, aquaculture authorization may be merged into a general water permit, as this is the case in the Republic of Moldavia, Finland, Hungary, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. A procedure of close consultation with other competent agencies may also be found40. None of these procedures are perfect, and undoubtedly the institutions and their people play a key role in making these approaches work.

There is also a tendency to develop transparent authorization systems (not necessarily less burdensome). This transparency is realized through the publication by the government of (explanatory) guidelines for engaging in an aquaculture activity41. They are specifically addressed to potential future aquaculturists. Transparency also benefits non-aquaculturists, as the decision-making process may include public hearings and/or official publication procedures which allow outside people to voice their comments. To illustrate this, the Fisheries Ministerial Policy Guidelines for the Assessment of Applications for Authorisations for Aquaculture and Pearling in coastal waters of Western Australia42 provide guidance to the Executive Director of Fisheries Western Australia on the processes to be used in assessing aquaculture licence and lease applications under Sections 92 and 97 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994, and Section 23 of the Pearling Act 1990 for leases, licences and permits. Before granting an aquaculture (operating) licence, the Executive Director must advertise a notice of the proposal to allow affected persons the opportunity to object43. Any objections raised are referred to the Minister and dealt with by a tribunal appointed by the Minister. Equally, the Minister must publish notice of the granting of a lease in the Government Gazette, however, there is no right of objection in the case of lease issuance.

The provision of an authorization procedure for setting up and operating an aquaculture farm may constitute a good basis for ensuring that the farm will be managed in an environmentally friendly manner. Hence, given the emphasis often placed on the adverse impacts of culture activities, aquaculturists would be unable to engage in aquaculture without an effluent discharge permit and without going through the process of environmental impact assessment44. This situation is most common in developed countries.




The increased zoning of land and water areas for aquaculture purposes

The increasing concern regarding environmental impacts caused and suffered by aquaculture has induced governments to set aside public lands for multiple uses (e.g. coastal zone management techniques), as well as land and waters for aquaculture uses45. Indeed legislation goes now beyond just the setting of standards or fixing requirements for the ambient environment. Zoning of land and water areas for certain types of aquaculture is a method used as a tool for integrating aquaculture into coastal areas. This is with a view to control the environment at farm level, as well as competing interests, and to resolve conflicts in relation to protection, use and exploitation of coastal resources. For example, Hong Kong SAR has 26 designated “Marine Fish Culture Zones”46 and requires all marine fish culture activity to operate under a licence in designated fish culture zones. In Ecuador, local zoning plans have been agreed upon between shrimp farms and local residents, allowing shrimp farming to continue along with mangrove planting and with traditional uses47. Likewise in Zambia, conservation-planning areas have been set up wherein layout of land for fish farms can be specified.

The development of integrated coastal zone management tends to redress the historical ineffectiveness of various sectoral approaches in the coastal areas. The United States was the first country to enact legislation specifically to implement integrated coastal zone management48. The relative success of this coastal zone management initiative has encouraged many other countries, like Costa Rica49, France50, India51, Indonesia, New Zealand52, Spain53, Sri Lanka54 and the United Kingdom to adopt this approach during the last decades. Most legislation provide for a variety of techniques (e.g. coastal setback rules, buffer zones, exclusion zones, protected areas, restrictions on private ownership rights, environmental impact assessment, environ-mental compensation, recognition of traditional and/or indigenous rights etc.) to further integrated coastal area management objectives. These techniques are also likely to protect aquaculture developments from environmental impacts and vice versa to protect other coastal developments from aquaculture impacts.


Emphasising social values in aquaculture

The recognition of the need to grant security to the aquaculturist, irrespective of size, in cases where public lands are involved, characterizes a number of aquaculture-related laws. To this end, in some countries55, agricultural status is granted for aquaculture use of public land, or the duration of leases are extended or renewable, or marine tenure systems for private-sector involvement are introduced56. In Vietnam, rules relating to the allocation of land to households and individuals have been provided for with the view to grant “stable and long term use” for the purposes of aquaculture57. The duration of the land lease is of maximum 20 years, and is renewable.

Long-term leases/concessions (up to 10, 20 and 50 years) are also being designed in some developing countries in Asia and Latin America, in order to:

  • create a more permanent linkage over time between producers and supervisors;
  • generalize the concept of sustainability; and
  • guarantee future and permanent supplies to the aquaculture industries holding these concessions.

The government’s right to revoke such leases/concessions is limited and may only be used in cases of serious violations of management plans and/or relevant laws. Wide powers to terminate leases for poorly defined reasons tend to disappear. However, this increasing trend remains still ambivalent. Despite more security being provided, one should look in practice whether or not:

  • such leases/concessions tend to put aside the monopolistic approach to aquaculture ownership;
  • competition is distorted; and
  • access to aquaculture by others is being limited.

Likewise, there is a tendency to recognize community management agreements (semi-private and private) for lagoons, coastal areas or adjacent (mangrove) areas, with a view to obtain an ecologically balanced and sustainable use of fishery resources58. An example of this is the Fisheries Law of Albania, which clearly provides agreements for the management of lagoons and adjacent waters for the purposes of protecting the environment and ensuring sustainable use of fishery resources.




Such an agreement must include a management plan for the area, define the objectives of the agreement, the rights and duties of the contracting parties (including the government, in relation to the aquatic flora and fauna), the measures taken to protect the environment and existing customary rights, as appropriate.

This private agreements/partnership can help the government and the private sector in facing the complexity of regulatory aspects. It provides an ideal opportunity for the government, industry and the community to promote sustainable and rational aquaculture management, along with compatible conservation and economic goals. Last but not least, it is likely to provide governments with a tool for enforcement action, for example, to prevent/stop destructive and/or polluting practices. Another interesting example thereof is the User’s Agreement of Jambeli in Ecuador, promoted under the Program for Coastal Resource Management, since 1990.

There are more examples in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand that are likely to demonstrate the importance of this kind of arrangement for private-sector involvement in marine conservation. In the same sense, legislation in the Pacific Region tends to recognize the importance of marine tenure for private-sector involvement, by providing recognition of statutory, community and/or customary marine tenure arrangements.

Other noticeable emerging shifts in legislation

Commercial aquaculture production is increasingly recognized as a major revenue producer for many countries, hence, some national laws use aquaculture-generated funds for resource conservation, as well as maintenance and management of aquaculture. Legislation mandating such funds is likely to be associated with other national public expenditure processes (e.g. Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru) and may be directed towards different purposes, e.g., environmental restoration (India, Tamil Nadu State), research and development (Bolivia) etc. In Western Australia, establishment of an Aquaculture Development Fund (ADF) was an important part of the state government’s aquaculture initiative. The ADF is used to assist development of the aquaculture industry in Western Australia, specifically projects that demonstrate wide industry benefits, a direct impact on industry development, transfer of technology and knowledge within and across industry sectors a positive production and profitability impact on the industry, and for which at least 50 percent of the total value of the project is contributed by the applicant.


ADF provides financial assistance for up to one year.

Another shift is increasing concern over collection of seed from the wild, along with introduction and transfer of exotic and nonexotic species. These activities are now extensively regulated through authorization processes, general prohibitions and the incentives for setting up of hatcheries (e.g. Albania, Chile, Mexico, Peru).

For purposes of disease management, alert systems have been introduced (e.g. Hong Kong SAR, Republic of Korea), emergency plans have been designed (e.g. New Zealand) and rules for prevention, control and diagnosis of disease have been defined (e.g. Mexico). Some countries (e.g. in the European Union (EU)) also provide financial compensation for ordered stock eradication.

With integration of the concept of sustainable development, the inclusion of noncommercial values, such as biodiversity and environmental conservation, is especially noticeable in countries commercially active in aquaculture59.

Another issue that has begun to emerge in developed countries is the “welfare and well-being of fish”. For instance, the Marine Farming Amendment Act 1993 provides regulatory powers “for the management and control of the well-being of fish in the area farmed under a lease or a licence, or a marine farming permit issued under the section 67J of the Fisheries Act”. Likewise, along with the EU legislation, farmers are responsible for (i.e. have to take care of) their “livestock”, including (farmed) fish.

Towards Self-Regulation?

Faced with increasing difficulty with regulating aquaculture activity, because of:

  • the numerous interests involved;the diversity of the natural resources;the variety of institutions involved;
  • the tangled web of laws and regulations and related difficulties in enforcement; as well as
  • the forces driving global and regional markets towards environmentally and socially sustainable practices,

increasing importance and recognition are awarded to best management practices, codes of conduct and codes of practice.




This is especially common in developed countries (e.g. Australia, Ireland, France, Japan and the United States), as well as a few developing countries with commercially important aquaculture sectors (e.g. Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka)60. This tendency is not only noticeable at a national level, but also at the international level61 .

Laws such as those described above are most often enforced by “command and control measures” (C&C) and require strict legal definitions to distinguish between conduct that is legally permissible and that which is not. For instance, it may be very hard for a legislator to promote qualitative improvements in the monitoring and control of environment-related activities surrounding aquaculture operations. These usually depend on identifying better methods, rather than distinguishing between right and wrong. Therefore, although legal rules are useful to outlaw the worst practices, they are often of limited value in promoting continuous improvements in an industry and its products over the long term. An example where a more practical approach has been adopted, in addition to legal tools, is found in the Thai regulation for intensive shrimp farms. This includes both effluent monitoring requirements and a “best management practices” (BMP) guideline for shrimp farming62.

In Japan, access to aquaculture in public waters is regulated under the Fisheries Law enacted in 1949. Coastal aquaculture rights are granted to Fisheries Cooperative Associations (FCAs) by the prefectural government for a specific area. Members of a FCA engage in aquaculture in accordance with the FCA’s management plan, approved by the prefectural authorities and implemented by the FCA’s “Exercise Regulation for Fishery Right”. In addition to this self-imposed control by the FCA, some prefectures have issued guidelines for the development of aquaculture in the area under their jurisdiction. In addition, Japan recently passed the “Law to ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production”63. This law empowers the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to establish the “Basic Guidelines to Ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production”64 and the FCAs to develop and implement an “Aquaculture Ground Improvement Programme” (hereinafter called “the Programme”). The Programme can be developed individually by a single FCA or jointly by more than one FCA. It must be approved by the Prefectural Authority and forms an integral part of the FCA’s “Exercise Regulation for Fishery Right”.

  Hence, the management of aquaculture has led to a self-imposed and self-controlled system and also to proprietary access to resources65.

The driving forces behind this shift in the regulatory framework appear to include: the need to reach a competitive advantage, a market image, a quality of the product and to provide the outside world with a pro-active response/demonstration that the aquaculture sector can be responsible.

The concept of best management practices and of codes of conducts and practices is not new. Generally speaking, the precautionary approach/principle paved the way towards the adoption of the former concept in numerous environmental laws. Likewise, codes have often been used to regulate issues relating to human health (like the use of pharmaceuticals), to regulate professional activities (codes of conduct for doctors in medicine, lawyers etc.) or simply to regulate traffic (e.g. the United Kingdom Highway Code). This is developing slowly but surely for aquaculture too.

To illustrate this, a few initiatives have been taken by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), like the FAO “Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries”66 and the FAO and World Health Organization (WHO) Code of Practice for Good Animal Feeding. In Europe, the Monitoring and Regulation of Marine Aquaculture (MARAQUA) project is another case in point. One of its objectives is to develop Scientific Guidelines for Best Environmental Practice, in relation to the regulation and monitoring of marine aquaculture in Europe. To cite an example at a national level, the Australian National Aquaculture Council has developed an industry code of practice which provides a framework for development of industry-specific codes. To date, such codes have been developed for prawn, tuna and silver perch farming.

A code is voluntary in nature, thus a key question is how to ensure compliance. Incentives that have been used so far include:

  • membership in an association is contingent upon signing the code (e.g. the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP)67, France);
  • authorization to engage in a professional activity is contingent upon adherence to a code (e.g. Thailand);
  • legislative texts linked to best management practices or a code under specific provisions or licence condition; and




  • certification of facilities being contingent upon demonstration of a particular operational status (e.g. first, second and third class).

Other examples include quality schemes such as the “Label Rouge” in France and the “Tartan Quality Salmon” and “Scottish Quality Trout” in Scotland. These labels provide a written guarantee that the producers have observed certain criteria. These criteria are set by lawyers and representatives of the participating industries, are legally recognized by the government and, hence, binding on the producers wishing to use the labels. Such quality schemes are likely to provide important benefits, i.e. a significant increase in both quality (for the consumer) and financial return for the producer in a competitive market place. Noncompliance with a scheme leads to heavy fines and, where necessary, exclusion from the scheme.

There can be little doubt that international trends towards introducing quality assurance systems and standards and more rigorous identification of the origins of fish and fishery products will continue. However, a key element in compliance is the decision on best management practices and codes of conduct. Who decides and at what level? What are tangible quality measurements? There can be no overall best management practice for aquaculture due to the wide diversity of climatic, geographic, species and system differences.

Constraints, limitations and measures to overcome

Enforcement - a weak link in legal regimes governing aquaculture

The regulatory framework alone cannot not be held responsible for unsustainable aquaculture practices. It matters how (or if) the regulations are enforced. Weak institutions with complicated, overlapping and fragmented management responsibilities, due to conflicting statutory mandates between legislation (e.g. between aquaculture and environmental laws) have impeded enforcement of relevant laws governing aquaculture in many countries.

Generally speaking, the legislation reviewed tends toward traditional enforcement efforts, i.e. command and control measures, including administrative sanctions (revocation or suspension of an authorization), as well as monetary penalties (fines).

  There is no apparent change or trend in the severity of these sanctions. However, in 1989 aquaculture was rarely considered in the enforcement sections. Aquaculture was mainly regulated under a general fisheries law, thus, the powers and priorities of the inspectors were clearly focussed on capture fisheries.

Nowadays, where aquaculture is regulated under more recently adopted fisheries laws, progress has been made. Inspection powers have aquaculture in mind as well as capture fisheries. In addition, regulatory infractions are receiving attention. For example, practising aquaculture without appropriate authorization, discharge of waters likely to pollute the surrounding environment, obstruction of navigable waters, diversion of water courses, unauthorized collection of wild seed, and illegal import of live fish or exotic species commonly invoke defined penalties. At the heart of this increasing enforcement recognition, however, is the question of what is an appropriate deterrent. Sufficient sanctions are required so that they cannot be perceived by potential violators as just another cost of doing business. Sanctions may be administrative, penal or even deprivation of freedom68. They may also involve suspension of financial incentives awarded through an aquaculture fund, expulsion from a produce quality scheme etc. Areas which are more severely regulated than others can be found in laws and regulations concerning the use of pesticides and insecticides, the use of pharmaceutical products (therapeutants), their availability for treatments and the setting the maximum residue levels.

Compliance issues in relation to a code of conduct or code of practice have been discussed above, but the question remains: what is sufficient to promote self-regulation, as well as optimum levels of responsibility and quality?

Finally, the current pressure induced by consumer concerns and the related potential shift in consumer demand (driven by environmental and social concerns over production methods) is, in itself, a significant trade-related incentive towards compliance with environmentally and socially sustainable practices.

Constraints, limitations and measures to overcome

Nearly all countries experience difficulties and overlaps with legislation of other sectors, including (but not limited to) land and water access, finance, environmental protection, quality control and grading standards, consumer protection, animal health protection, and import and export laws. Inter-sectoral cooperation and protocol development is a challenge in many countries.




Governments are still discovering the legal issues likely to arise, as well as the tangled web of institutions likely to be involved in governing aquaculture. Increasing publicity of environmental and social issues, together with disease outbreaks, has raised questions of sustainability of aquaculture practices and urged legislators to find ad hoc solutions.

Over the last 15 years, many countries, especially in the developing world, have witnessed the setting up of authorities responsible for the protection and management of the environment. This has often been accompanied by extensive promulgation of new laws and regulatory enactments relating to environmental conservation. Problems faced by legislators under these conditions may simply relate to the amount of information that is being generated, in addition to the challenge of familiarization with the various aquaculture practices that may be implicated. In nearly all instances, these new laws and regulations are being drafted, implemented and enforced by officers not familiar with aquaculture.

Have legislative measures really failed to keep pace with the rapid expansion of aquaculture? Have they contributed to the development of aquaculture or hindered economic and social development? Is self-regulation a solution? Against these questions, private and semi-private arrangements involving technical and scientific approaches appear to be, not just theoretically desirable, but essential, in that they often enhance effective enforcement.

Measures to overcome constraints and limitations relate not only to the substance of the written law itself, but also to the process of drafting the law. Law reforms are frequently over ambitious, with goals and objectives that cannot be met within the implementation capacity of the country. For instance, some laws may establish complicated and expensive procedures that require financial or human resources that are not available, or they may require sudden institutional changes with no allowance for a transitional period. Further, the drafting of laws requires a genuine involvement of all concerned (government and nongovernmental institutions, central and local institutions, communities and resource-dependant people, private-sector organizations).

  By overlooking this point, the legislator runs the risk of not passing a law, or passing a law that is completely unrealistic. Undoubtedly, the trend towards greater community involvement is a highly relevant issue as far as enforcement is concerned. Such involvement contributes to greater compliance with the law and induces outsider compliance. Transparency and accountability in aquaculture- related decision-making processes are key elements. Unjustifiably burdensome and/or lengthy approval processes may serve as a magnet for rent seeking by public officials. Attention to the level of government involvement required for authorization is essential to avoid unnecessary hurdles and costs. Minor permissions granted solely by central or distant authorities can become an incentive to act illegally. Evaluating penalties and their effectiveness is not an easy task, however, too severe sanctions may induce prosecution officers, local courts etc. not to apply the fine at all. In addition, inflexible laws cannot adapt to rapid changes in penalties, e.g. in response to inflation or the severity of the infringement. Some countries provide for automatic indexation (to avoid lengthy legal amendments) or link the importance of the damage into the penalty. Last, but not least, enforcement requires appropriately trained, competent staff as well as a knowledgeable industry, community and public.

Potential future role and the contribution of law to the overall development of aquaculture?

It will take some time before a “State of Art” aquaculture law will be drafted.

For government bodies, the use of law to promote sustainable aquaculture is not an easy task, however, law is only one of a number of mechanisms that may be used to secure this objective. Faced with an environmental challenge a multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approach is required. Any belief that legal prohibition of an unacceptable behaviour will solve environmental concerns is erroneous. Recent years have also witnessed reforms to aquaculture institutions that increasingly recognize the multiple interests involved in or affected by aquaculture development and management. These reflect a growing appreciation of the environmental and social role played by aquaculture development at the national, regional and international levels.




Continued legislative attention will still be needed for issues related to resolving disputes:

  • within user groups,
  • between user groups and outsiders,
  • between user groups and government, and
  • to balance aquaculture needs with ecological and social requirements.

Finally, legislative reforms have obvious limits in any fight against lawlessness in the aquaculture sector. Societal problems, with deep-set and complex causes, go well beyond the capacity of any law - especially sector-specific legislation. In the light of these and other implementation difficulties, a more practical approach like best management practices and codes of conduct may be the ultimate solution.

Part II - establishing an institutional framework

Status: emerging trends

The overall effectiveness of a legal system for the management of aquaculture depends in large measure on effective government administration of the aquaculture sector. Today the dividing lines between public and private sectors are becoming blurred, with shared public and private interests. Responsibilities are also becoming diffused over various societal sectors and inter-relationships are changing. Reshuffling of government tasks and greater awareness of the need to cooperate with other sectors of society does not render traditional government obsolete; it merely recognizes the limitations of traditional public command and control mechanisms. Responses to societal problems require a broad set of instruments. At a workshop held in Canberra, Australia, in August 1999, key government, aquaculture industry and research representatives resolved to develop an Action Plan for Australian Aquaculture. It was agreed that the plan, called Aquaculture Beyond 2000, would involve input from government, industry, community and environmental groups, in order to overcome potential impediments to future aquaculture growth in Australia to reach a production target of AU$2.5 billion value by 2010.

It is not by coincidence that the need to involve community and environmental groups in the development of the Australian Action Plan is raised here.

  Australian aquaculture developments in marine and coastal waters have frequently encountered difficulties gaining regulatory approvals, due primarily to community concern over potential environmental impacts. Further, in Australia, the government also has a policy of promoting industry self-regulation to increase the competitiveness of rural industries.

In attempting to identify the current trends in the institutional settings of different countries, it is important to bear in mind that, as stated in the State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture (FAO/SOFIA-1998), not many countries have well-defined aquaculture policy. Debates still rage over form, functions and sizing of units of central and local governments, (e.g. New Zealand69, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam). A recent study conducted in the Mediterranean Region in July 1999 demonstrated that, in the majority of countries, administration is centralized and aquaculture policies are developed by ministries such as the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Environment or a combination thereof. However, there are some countries where the responsibility for aquaculture is given to local governments (e.g. municipalities) (New Zealand70, the Philippines71, Japan, China).

The most common problem concerning administration of aquaculture is administrative overlap and interference. This problem normally arises from unclear regulation of the sector and a confused administrative set-up. This problem is recognized in Africa (Africa Regional Aquaculture Review, 1999) and in Latin America (The Economic, Environmental and Social Impacts of Shrimp Farming in Latin America, Coastal Resources Centre, University of Rhode Island [1998). African aquaculture was assigned to a variety of institutional “homes”, sometimes the Ministry of Agriculture, others with forestry or livestock agencies and even with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, as in the case of Tanzania. At one time, aquaculture in the Congo (Brazzaville) was simultaneously assigned to two different ministries. This was not limited to aquaculture, since agriculture research and extension services have also found themselves in different ministries, confounding efforts to coordinate the two activities. Another important problem identified in Africa is a general lack of stability of the institutional frameworks - relative stability exists only in Malawi and Madagascar. Likewise, in Latin American countries (e.g. Belize, Honduras, Ecuador), overlapping jurisdictions, lack of trained staff, weak policy directions, centralized decision-making and minimal/absent consultation with stakeholders have led to a poor management of the aquaculture sector.




Efforts are duplicated and conflicts are frequent between government departments, as well as between different levels of government. However, while some countries are still adopting a piecemeal approach to address these problems (e.g. Ecuador), others have attempted to adopt a more comprehensive legal regime for aquaculture (e.g. Peru - Ley General de Pesca 1992 and Decrees 1 and 2 of 94, respectively implementing the Law and adopting the Testo Unico de Procedimentos Administrativos; Mexico - Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca, 2000; and Bolivia - Decreto Supremo Nº 22.581 Reglamento de pesca y acuicultura,1990). In the latter countries, institutional changes have been introduced in an attempt to streamline institutional responsibilities related to aquaculture. A striking feature behind this effort, however, is that many government departments share several responsibilities at the same time: they are regulators, industry promoters and industry operators. As a consequence, none of these roles may be completely fulfilled. In Nicaragua, for instance, the Ministry of Economy and Development (MEDE) establishes and implements the economic policy for aquaculture (Decreto No 19-93). A similar situation is found in Mexico. An important challenge in these countries would be to revise, analyse and “re-organize” the institutional framework in order to reach more efficiency, transparency and accountability.

In light of the complexity of issues related to the governance of the aquaculture sector, as seen above, mixes of government-driven approaches and voluntary arrangements have emerged. Likewise, the option of divesting the government of responsibility for operational aspects and maintenance of systems in favour of the aquaculturists is attracting much attention. A policy move in this direction raises a number of institutional (and legal) issues. Divestiture may entail transfer of physical assets (i.e. an area or infrastructure), or limit it, with the government retaining ownership of the assets, while their use (i.e. operation and maintenance) is transferred to the users/aquaculturists. The sections above have shown that co-management agreements, user group leases, and decentralization of various aspects of aquaculture administration to local government bodies are becoming common in a number of countries.

  Finally, producer organizations can play important roles at both national and international levels. They provide a strong link between industry and government, especially through consultation processes72. Industry-funded organizations such as Seafood Services Australia provide support and assistance in promoting best practice in food safety, quality and disease management.

Constraints and opportunities

The issue consists, in a majority of cases, of how to reconcile the inherent unity of the natural resources upon which aquaculture depends and the manifold management functions relevant to them. Government bureaucracies tend to be patterned along:

  • use-specific lines - i.e. separate administrations responsible for water supply, land allocation, seed supply, import/export etc.;
  • functional lines - separate administrations for water resources allocation, pollution control, disease control etc.;
  • types of water resources - freshwater, brackish water and sea water; or
  • land resources - public lands, foreshore, lagoons, private land management etc.

There is a need to look at the areas requiring involvement of the government. At what level should a government be involved? In what subject matters should it be involved? When should it enter onto the scene? On the other hand, at what stage and on what subject(s) should aquaculturists or other stakeholders have a say and assume responsibility? Should they play an active role in the management of the resources, e.g. participating in the design of decision-making processes regarding other user’s rights? Should they have the authority to determine how and where aquaculture occurs, and how the structure of the resources used may or may not be changed? Should they have the right to regulate access to, and mechanisms for transfer of relevant resources? What could be considered constructive and appropriate involvement of industry and/or other users? Or is self-regulation a solution?

Whether a regulatory approach is effective or not, producers remain responsible for the daily management of aquaculture operations and play a key and direct role in formulating and implementing the best available practices.




Part III - conclusions and recommendations

Aquaculturists and industry are critically interested in long-term resource conservation and will work towards this.
Aquaculture law has to be directed towards being ecologically sustainable and commercially sustainable, and to the public benefit. Foremost, it is important to set policy orientations. To this end, effective aquaculture legislation, or any reform of existing legislation, should:

  • recognize, define and assess the activity (the practice, the facility and the product) and the various actors/players involved;
  • integrate environmental and social values into the planning and decision-making process for allocation of land, water and other natural resources for aquaculture purposes;
  • recognize the legitimacy of regulatory instruments like codes of practice and codes of conduct that reinforce responsible aquaculture practices such as the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries;
  • include effective monitoring, implementation and enforcement mechanisms, (economic, administrative and penal) to ensure compliance with the regulatory instruments, including codes of conduct and best management practices; and
  • develop and regularly implement performance criteria and indicators that will assess whether the objectives of responsible aquaculture have been achieved by the government and by stakeholders.

Conducting reviews of institutional systems would apparently be opportune in many countries. These reviews should focus on the objectives and outcomes expected in relation to aquaculture development and management, as well as consider the most appropriate structure, systems, resources and linkages required to implement and deliver those expectations.


Close scrutiny should be given to statutory responsibilities, conflicting functions, decision-making processes and conflict resolution processes.

An institutional framework for aquaculture should:

  • Be geared towards the objectives of an aquaculture policy and legislation, in order to ensure their successful implementation;
  • Clearly identify the responsibilities of the agency or agencies in relation to the development, operation and management of aquaculture. Where several agencies are involved, it should foster and promote the creation of appropriate networks to facilitate the implementation of responsible aqua-culture practices;
  • In relation to the use of natural resources, open the process of aquaculture management to nongovernment interests, including the private sector, the community, traditional users and aquaculturists by, for example:
    - partnership/cooperation agreements: e.g. between other users and aquaculturists for a designated land/water area; between the other users, aquaculturists and the government;
    - delegation of powers.
  • Foster a coordinated approach between government and nongovernment interests for efficient enforcement of all laws and regulations applicable to aquaculture;
  • Create incentives (financial, educational and others) for responsible aquaculture, geared towards:
    - improving existing farming systems,
    - developing and implementing best management practices,
    - supporting implementation of effective environmental controls to maintain and improve requirements for aquaculture, and
    - supporting maintenance and restoration of the environment.
  • Regularly assess the efficiency of aquaculture management on the basis of criteria that reflect efficient resource use, economic viability and public benefit.




1 The views expressed in this manuscript are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

2 [email protected]

3 The problems of studying the legal regime of aquaculture were brought out very strongly in the first attempt to look at the subject undertaken by the Development Law Service in 1989, which was entitled “A Preliminary Review of Selected Legislation Governing Aquaculture, which was written by A. Van Houtte, N. Bonucci and W. Edeson.

4 AUSTRALIA (New South Wales): Fisheries Management (Aquaculture) Regulation 1995. Date of original text: 13 January 1995; CHILE: Decreto Nº 464 que establece procedimiento para la entrega de información de actividades pesqueras y acuicultura.: 31 July 1995; Decreto Nº 604 que modifica el Reglamento de Concesiones y Autorizaciones de Acuicultura. Date of text: 3 November 1994; Decreto Nº 499 que aprueba el Reglamento del Registro Nacional de Acuicultura. Date of text: 27 September 1994; Decreto Nº 290 que aprueba el Reglamento de concesiones y autorizaciones de acuicultura. Date of text: 28 May 1993; COSTA RICA: Reglamento para el otorgamiento de concesiones y licencias acuicolas. Date of text: 6 February 1996; ECUADOR: Decreto Nº 1.062 que establece el Reglamento para cría y cultivo de especies bioacuáticas. Date of text: 26 August 1985; EL SALVADOR: Decreto Nº 14 que aprueba el Reglamento para el establecimiento de salineras y explotaciones con fines de acuicultura marina en los bosques salados. Date of text: 1 April 1986; GUATEMALA: Acuerdo Nº 176-83 relativo a la acuicultura. Date of text: 29 March 1983; HONG KONG SAR: Marine Fish Culture Ordinance (Chapter 353). Date of text: 30/06/1997; Fish Culture Zone (Designation) Order (Chapter 353, section 5(a)). Date of original text: 4 March 1983; Marine Fish Culture Regulations. Date of text: 30/06/1997; IRAQ: Resolution No. 995 of 1985 relative to the establishment of pisciculture farms. Date of text: 24 August 1985; ITALY: Ministerial Decree adopting the third national plan for fisheries and aquaculture in marine and brackish waters. Date of text: 15 January 1991; Presidential Decree No. 555 regulating the implementation of EEC Directive 91/67/EEC establishing norms of sanitary police for aquaculture products, 1992. Date of original text: 30 December 1992; LUXEMBOURG: Règlement grand-ducal relatif aux conditions de police sanitaire régissant la mise sur le marché d’animaux d’aquaculture; NEW ZEALAND: Freshwater Fish Farming Regulations, 1983. Date of text: 19 December 1983; MYANMAR: Aquaculture Legislation by the State Law and Order Restoration Council 1989 (No. 24/89). Date of text: 7 September 1989; NORWAY: Decree relative to desinfection of water flowing into and water flowing out from aquaculture-related operations (No. 192 of 1997). Date of text: 20 February 1997; Decree relative to desinfection and cleaning aquaculture facilities (No. 194 of 1997). Date of text: 20 February 1997; Decree relative to the approval of methods and equipment for the treatment of dead fish, fish waste, discharge of wastewater from aquaculture installations which may carry the risk of infection. Date of original text: 17 April 1992.; Act No. 68 relating to the Breeding of Fish, Shellfish etc. Date of text: 14 June 1985; PERU: Resolución Nº 449-94-PE que dicta normas para la inversión en actividades acuícolas. Date of text: 24 November 1994; Resolución Nº 232-94-PE que aprueba los lineamientos para la elaboración de los estudios de impacto ambiental para la acuicultura. Date of text: 15 June 1994. PORTUGAL: Order No. 113/96 amending Order No. 522/95 of 31 May (approving the Regulation on sanitary control for the placing into the market of fish and aquaculture products). Date of text: 12 April 1996; Order No. 578/94 establishing temporary assistance regime to the development of aquaculture sector. Date of text: 12 July 1994; SRI LANKA: Aquaculture Management Regulations of 1996. Date of text: 31 October 1996; SYRIA: Order No. 12/T on the Licencing of Fish Farms. Date of text: 3 January 1991; TUNISIA: Décret nº 95-1537 portant création d’une unité de gestion par objectifs du système d’information pour la promotion de l’aquaculture en Méditerranée et fixant son organisation et les modalités de son fonctionnement. Date of text: 4 August 1997; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: National Aquaculture Act of 1980 (16 USC 2801).

5 ALBANIA: Law on Fishery and Aquaculture 1995 (No. 7908 of 1995). Date of text: 5 April 1995; BELGIUM (Flandres): Arrêté du Gouvernement flamand portant l’aide à la pêche maritime et à l’aquiculture. Date of original text: 24 November 1993; BOLIVIA: Decreto Supremo Nº 22.581 Reglamento de pesca y acuicultura. Date of text: 14 August 1990; BULGARIA: Fish Husbandry Act 1982. Date of text: 1982; CAMBODIA: Proclamation No. 0002.PROR.KOR.KOR.SOR.KOR. on competent authorities in issuing permission to do fishery in open water, aquaculture, fish processing and special permissions. Date of text: 10 January 1989,; the Fisheries Management and Administration, Fiat-Law No. 33 KRO. CHOR. Date of text: 9 March 1987; CAMEROON: Décret nº 95/413/PM fixant certaines modalités d’application du régime de la pêche. Date of text: 20 June 1995; Loi nº 81-13 portant régime des forêts, de la faune et de la pêche. Date of text: 27 November 1981; CHINA-PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC: Fisheries Law of the People’s Republic of China, 1986. Date of text: 20 January 1986; COLOMBIA: Ley Nº 13 por la cual se dicta el Estatuto General de Pesca. Date of text: 15 January 1990; EGYPT: Act No. 124 promulgating the Act on Fishing, Aquatic Life and the Regulation on Fish Farms, 1983. Date of text: 1983; GAMBIA: Fisheries Regulations, 1995 (L. N. No. 18 of 1995). Date of text: 1995; GUINEA: Décret nº 198/PRG/SGG/90 portant statuts de l’Office de promotion de la pêche artisanale et de l’aquaculture (O.P.P.A.). Date of text: 5 October 1990; HONDURAS: Decreto Nº 74-91 que crea la Dirección General de Pesca y Acuicultura. Date of text: 10 June 1991; HUNGARY: Law No. XLI of 1997 on fishing. Date of original text: 13 May 1997; MADAGASCAR: Ordonnance nº 93-022 portant réglementation de la pêche et de l’aquaculture. Date of text: 4 May 1993; MALAYSIA: Fisheries Act 1985 (No. 317 of 1985.; UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND: Fisheries and Aquaculture Structures (Grants) Regulations 1995 (S.I. No. 1576 of 1995). Date of text: 20 June 1995; MEXICO: Reglamento de la Ley de Pesca. Date of text: 17 July 1992, Reglamento de la Ley Federal de Pesca. Date of text: 29 December 1987; PARAGUAY: Ley Nº 799 de Pesca. Date of text: 17 January 1996; PERU: Decreto Supremo Nº 009-94-PE que modifica el Reglamento de la Ley General de Pesca. Date of text: 29 December 1994; SYRIA: Resolution No. 1983 on Freshwater Fisheries. Date of text: 8 November 1965.

6 GABON: Loi nº 1-82 d’orientation en matière des eaux et des forêts. Date of text: 22 July 1982;
REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA: Water Code. Date of text: 22 June 1993; PORTUGAL: Decree-Law No. 74/90 regulating water quality standards. Date of text: 7 March 1990; REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA: Water Code. Date of text: 22 June 1993; ROMANIA: Water Law (No. 107 of 1996). Date of text: 25 September 1996; TAJIKISTAN: Water Code of the Republic Tajikistan. Date of text: 27 December 1993; UZBEKISTAN: Law of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Water and Water Use of 6 March 1993. Date of text: 6 March 1993.

7 BULGARIA: Concessions Act. Date of original text: 5 October 1995; BURKINA FASO: Loi nº 006/97/ADP portant Code forestier au Burkina Faso. Date of text: 31 January 1997; BELGIUM (Flandres): Arrêté du Gouvernement flamand désignant les eaux de surface destinées à la production d’eau alimentaire, catégories A1, A2 et A3, aux eaux de baignade, aux eaux piscicoles et aux eaux conchylicoles. Date of text: 8 December 1998; BRAZIL: Act No.8.171 on Agricultural Policy. Date of text: 17 January 1991, Order No. N-1 making provisions on the construction of dams and dykes diverting the water course. Date of text: 4 January 1977; BURKINA FASO: Kiti nº AN VIII-0328 TER/FP/PLAN-COOP portant application de la réorganisation agraire et foncière au Burkina Faso. Date of text: 4 June 1991; EUROPEAN UNION: Council Directive 78/659/EEC of 18 July 1978 on the quality of fresh waters needing protection or improvement in order to support fish life. Date of text: 14 August 1978; ECUADOR: Ley Forestal y de Conservación de Areas Naturales y Vida Silvestre.




8 AUSTRALIA (New South Wales): Fisheries Management (Aquaculture) Regulation 1995. Date of original text: 13 January 1995; BRAZIL: Decree No. 1.694 creating the National System for Fishing and Aquaculture Information - Sinpesc. Date of text: 13 November 1995, Decree No. 1.695 regulating aquaculture activity in public waters. Date of text: 13 November 1995, Order No. 95-N regulating the registration for aquaculture activity. Date of text: 30 August 1993; CHILE: Decreto Nº 464 que establece procedimiento para la entrega de información de actividades pesqueras y acuicultura. Date of text: 31 July 1995, Decreto Nº 604 que modifica el Reglamento de Concesiones y Autorizaciones de Acuicultura. Date of text: 3 November 1994, Decreto Nº 499 que aprueba el Reglamento del Registro Nacional de Acuicultura. Date of text: 27 September 1994, Decreto Nº 290 que aprueba el Reglamento de concesiones y autorizaciones de acuicultura. Date of text: 28 May 1993; COSTA RICA: Reglamento para el otorgamiento de concesiones y licencias acuicolas. Date of text: 6 February 1996. EUROPEAN UNION: Council Directive 98/45/EC of 24 June 1998 amending Directive 91/67/EEC concerning the animal health conditions governing the placing on the market of aquaculture animals and products. Date of text: 24 June 1998. FINLAND: Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry relative to the Register for Aquaculture (No. 212 of 1996). Date of text: 25 February 1996.
FRANCE: Décret nº 95-100 relatif aux conditions de police sanitaire de l’aquaculture des mollusques et des crustacés marins vivants. Date of text: 26 January 1995.
ITALY: Ministerial Decree authorizing fishing in aquaculture plants. Date of text: 29 September 1995.
HUNGARY: Decree No. 41 of 1994 of the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the authorisation and regulation of fish hatchery plants. Date of text: 28 June 1994.
MEXICO: NOM-010-PESC-1993 que establece los requisitos sanitarios para la importacion de organismos acuáticos vivos en cualesquiera de sus fases de desarrollo, destinados a la acuacultura u ornato, en el territorio nacional. Date of text: 20 July 1994, NOM-011-PESC-1993 para regular la aplicación de cuarentenas, a efecto de prevenir la introducción y dispersión de enfermedades certificables y notificables, en la importación de organismos acuáticos vivos en cualesquiera de sus fases de desarrollo, destinados a la acuacultura y ornato en los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Date of text: 20 July 1994.
NORWAY: Decree relative to desinfection of water flowing into and water flowing out from aquaculture-related operations (No. 192 of 1997). Date of text: 20 February 1997, Decree relative to desinfection and cleaning aquaculture facilities (No. 194 of 1997). Date of text: 20 February 1997.
PERU: Resolución Nº 449-94-PE que dicta normas para la inversión en actividades acuícolas. Date of text: 24 November 1994, Resolución Nº 232-94-PE que aprueba los lineamientos para la elaboración de los estudios de impacto ambiental para la acuicultura. Date of text: 15 June 1994.
SRI LANKA: Aquaculture Management Regulations of 1996. Date of text: 31 October 1996.
TUNISIA: Décret nº 95-1537 portant création d’une unité de gestion par objectifs du système d’information pour la promotion de l’aquaculture en Méditerranée et fixant son organisation et les modalités de son fonctionnement. Date of text: 4 August 1997.

9 E.g. Kenya, Malawi, Zambia.

10 E.g. France, Mexico, Philippines.

11 E.g. France, Mexico, Philippines.

12 E.g. Bolivia, France, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Mozambique, Peru, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom.

13 E.g. Ecuador, France, Hong Kong SAR, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore.

14 E.g. Japan, the Law to ensure sustainable fish management, entered into force on November 19, 1990.

15 See for instance, the Fisheries Legislation of Bolivia, Cuba and Mexico.

16 Albania, Law on Fishery and Aquaculture 1995 (No. 7908 of 1995), article 3.

17 Algeria, Décret législatif nº 94-13 fixant les règles générales relatives à la pêche., articles 3, 17 and 18.

18 Bolivia, Decreto Supremo Nº 22.581 of 1990 Reglamento de pesca y acuicultura.

19 China, Hong Kong SAR, Marine Fish Culture Ordinance (Chapter 353).

20 New Zealand, Fisheries Act 1996, section 2.

21 Malaysia, Fisheries Act 1985 (No. 317 of 1985).

22 United States (State of Pennsylvania), Act 1998-94, the Aquaculture Development Act, 4203.

23 EU. December 1999 Regulation on Structural Funds.

24 E.g. Australia, Tasmania, The Marine Farming Planning Act, 1995, states in Section 4:
(1) The purpose of this Act is to achieve well-planned sustainable development of marine farming activities having regard to the need to -(a) integrate marine farming activities with other marine uses; and (b) minimise any adverse impact of marine farming activities; and (c) set aside areas for activities other than for marine farming activities; and (d) take account of land uses; and (e) take account of the community’s right to have an interest in those activities.
(2) A person must perform any function or exercise any power under this Act in a manner which furthers the objectives of resource management.

25 E.g. Australia, Tasmania, The Marine Farming Planning Act, 1995, states in Schedule 1 of the Act the overall objectives of the resource management planning system in Tasmania.

26 E.g. Australia (Tasmania), France, New Zealand, Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka, the United States.

27 E.g. Nicaragua, Decreto 9/1996; Peru, Resolución Ministerial No 096-91-PE, of 11 March 1991.

28 E.g. Nicaragua, Decreto No 19-93; Peru, Decreto Ley No 25.977/1992.

29 E.g. Albania, Australia, Bolivia, Bulgaria, the United States.

30 E.g. Australia, the EU, the United States.




31 “A Preliminary Review of Selected Legislation Governing Aquaculture, which was written by A Van Houtte, N Bonucci and W Edeson.

32 E.g. Denmark.

33 E.g. Albania, Bangladesh; Ecuador, Indonesia, Thailand.

34 Consultation on the Application of Article 9 of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries in the Mediterranean Region; Rome, 19-23 July 1999.

35 E.g. Albania, Australia (Tasmania), Bolivia.

36 A list of countries reviewed is in endnote sopra.

37 E.g. Albania, Bolivia, Cyprus, Israel, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, United Kingdom.

38 E.g. Ecuador, Hong Kong SAR, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore.

39 E.g. Costa Rica and Hong Kong SAR.

40 E.g. Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, Scotland.

41 E.g. Australia, Sri Lanka.

42 Issued pursuant to Section 246 of the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 and Section 24 of the Pearling Act 1990.

43 Currently, the term “affected persons” means those who hold an aquaculture licence and are likely to be significantly affected by the proposal.

44 E.g. Australia, Cyprus, EU Member States, New Zealand, the United States.

45 E.g. Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, the EU, Hong Kong SAR, Peru, Vietnam.

46 The Marine Culture Ordinance, Chap.353, as amended in 1997 and the Fish Culture Zone (Designation) Order, Chap.353, B.

47 Bodero A.Q. and D. Robadue, Jr. 1995. Strategies for managing mangrove ecosystems. In Eight Years in Ecuador: the road to integrated coastal zone management (Ed. Robadue), p.43-69.

48 The 1972 Coastal Zone Management Act.

49 Law of 2 March 1977.

50 Loi No 86-2 du 3 janvier 1986 relative à l’aménagement, la protection et la mise en valeur du littoral.

51 The Indian Coastal Regulation Zone Notification of 1991, Gazette Notification S.O. No 114 (E) of 20 February 1991.

52 The Resource Management Act of 1991.

53 The Shores Act, 1988 and Royal Decree 1471/1989.

54 The Coast Conservation Act, 1981.

55 E.g. Albania, Madagascar, Vietnam.

56 The United States (State of Washington), Indonesia, Solomon Islands. It should be noted that these elements have also been introduced for the purposes of enhancing environmental conservation, and in particular, marine conservation.

57 Land Law, 1996.

58 Albania, Australia (Tasmania), Bulgaria, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Thailand.

59 see above section on the concept of sustainable development.

60 In the latter countries being currently drafted.

61 The FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries, No 5 concerning Aquaculture Development; Principles of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (“HACCP”) System and Guidelines for their Application currently being developed under the auspices of the World Health Organization; the draft Code of Conduct for Responsible Shrimp Culture promoted by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

62 For further information, see Phillips M. and Barg U., Experiences and opportunities in shrimp farming in Sustainable Aquaculture, food for the Future, Balkema Publishers, 1999.

63 In force as of 19 November 1999.

64 They have been developed on August, 30 1999.

65 Uoya,T., Fishery Agency of Japan, Establishment of the Law to ensure Sustainable Aquaculture Production.

66 This document is based on the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), adopted at the FAO 32nd Conference in 1995, which includes one thematic article on “Aquaculture development”. The Code and Guidelines have been formulated so as to be interpreted and applied in conformity with relevant rules of international law.

67 FEAP is an international organization that is composed of the National Aquaculture Associations of European countries. Membership of the Federation is restricted to National Aquaculture Associations. In certain cases, countries have National Associations for defined species (e.g. the United Kingdom has National Associations for Trout, Salmon) while others have National Associations for all species (e.g. Italy and France have National Aquaculture Associations that incorporate all species). At present, the FEAP is composed primarily of associations concerned with finfish production. The basic aims of the federation are to develop and establish a common policy on questions relating to the production and the commercialization of aquaculture species reared professionally; and to make known to the appropriate authorities the common policies envisaged above. For the purposes of consultation, FEAP maintains a policy of constructive dialogue and transparency. In order that this policy is respected, it has established formal links to the following institutions and organizations: the Commission of the EU (DG XIV - Fisheries); FAO (European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC) - Observer, General Fisheries Council for the Mediterranean (GFCM) - Observer); Confederation of European Agriculture (CEA) - Member; Working Group for Aquaculture of the COPA/COGECA - Observer; Maritime Industries Forum - Member of Panel 2 - Marine Resources; European Aquaculture Interface (ad-hoc Group), with European Aquaculture Society, AquaTT, and CIHEAM (for further information:

68 E.g. Bolivia, Ecuador.

69 A key component of 1989 local government reforms and Resource Management Act 1991 was for regional councils to have a dominant role in environmental management (including fisheries and aquaculture), through their regional policy statements.




71 The Local Government Act, 1992.

72 The National Aquaculture Council (NAC) is the peak industry association for aquaculture in Australia. This is a relatively new organization, and to date has not established a firm role for itself. However, Queensland, Southern Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia have state aquaculture councils which provide the link between industry and government. In addition, most industry groups have sectoral-based associations, such as the Australian Prawn Farmers Association, the NSW Oyster Growers Association, the Tasmanian Salmon Growers Association, the WA Marron Growers Association, the Tuna Boat Owners Association and so on. There are close linkages between policy-makers and regulators and the various peak industry associations at the state and national level, and consultations on key issues occur through these groups. Industry-funded organizations such as Seafood Services Australia provide support and assistance in promoting best practice in food safety, quality and disease management. (Extract from Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry - Australia (AFFA).