Aquaculture Management

The Victorian Fisheries Authority is the lead agency in aquaculture development in Victoria and operates in accordance with the relevant objectives of the Fisheries Act 1995 that include:

  • "to provide for the management, development and use of Victoria's fishery, aquaculture industries and associated aquatic biological resources in an efficient, effective and ecologically sustainable manner"; and
  • "to promote sustainable commercial fishing and viable aquaculture industries and quality recreational fishing opportunities for the present and future generations".
Photograph of Mussel Ropes
Mussel ropes

To deliver on these objectives The Victorian Fisheries Authority provides the core functions of licensing, administration, policy development and management planning. In addition, The Victorian Fisheries Authority provides resources for research and development, fish health management and shellfish quality assurance.

The Victorian Fisheries Authority has developed documentation to provide management procedures for:

The Fisheries Act 1995 and the Fisheries Regulations 1998 may be found by following the prompts at

Legislative framework

Aquaculture in Victoria is principally managed under State legislation administered by a number of relevant Government agencies. Principal legislative arrangements with the potential to impact on aquaculture activity within Victoria include:

Commonwealth of Australia

  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
  • Native Title Act 1993;
  • Quarantine Act 1908;
  • Export Control Act 1982;
  • Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989.


  • Fisheries Act 1995 and its associated Fisheries Regulations 1998;
  • Environment Protection Act 1970;
  • Land Act 1958;
  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006;
  • Coastal Management Act 1995;
  • Planning and Environment Act 1987;
  • Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988;
  • Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978;
  • Marine Act 1988;
  • Seafood Safety Act 2003;
  • Food Act 1984;
  • Health Act 1958;
  • Water Act 1989;
  • Livestock Disease Control Act 1984;
  • Wildlife Act 1975;
  • Heritage Rivers Act 1992.

State, Commonwealth and local governments, rural water authorities and catchment management authorities are the responsible agents for the administration of regulations that impact on aquaculture. It is your responsibility to ensure you are acting within the law. If you are in doubt seek independent legal advice.

A schematic representation of key Commonwealth and State Government legislation relevant to the aquaculture industry within Victoria is provided below.

Diagram showing the Acts related to Aquaculture in Victoria

Local Government

Local Government by-laws and planning provisions may provide authorities for the development of aquaculture specific to each shire or city.

The Aquaculture Planning Guidelines are designed to assist local planners understand aquaculture and how aquaculture development is dealt with in the Victorian Planning Provisions. The department undertook a Rural Zone Review. The findings of that review led to revision of the number of rural zones to more accurately reflect the multitude of uses.

Aquaculture is now a 'right of use' within two of the new zones. In two of the new zones, aquaculture developers will not require a planning permit for private land use for aquaculture purposes; however building permits are still required. Although these zones have been approved at the state level, implementation is the responsibility of each local authority and consequently will be gradually phased in.