My Department considers all applications for aquaculture licences in accordance with the provisions of the 1997 Fisheries (Amendment) Act, the 1933 Foreshore Act and applicable National and EU legislation. The licensing process involves consultation with a wide range of scientific and technical advisers as well as various Statutory Consultees. The legislation also provides for a period of public consultation.
As Castlemaine Harbour is designated as a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive and a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive (Natura 2000 site), all applications in the area are required to be appropriately assessed for the purpose of environmental compliance with the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. My Department has requested that the Marine Institute undertake an updated Appropriate Assessment for Castlemaine Harbour. Once the finalised Appropriate Assessment Report is received my Department will be in contact with the applicants concerned regarding the next stage of the licensing process.
Specific queries in relation to individual applications can be referred by the applicant to the Aquaculture and Foreshore Management Division of my Department. As applications in Castlemaine Harbour are currently under consideration as part of the statutory process outlined above, it is not possible to facilitate a meeting at this time.