The Cabinet has approved policy provisions for the drafting of a National Environmental Standard for Marine Acquaculture.
Environment Minister David Parker and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash say that following drafting of the new regulations, the NES will go to Cabinet for a final decision in early 2020.
They say the proposed NES seeks to provide a more efficient and certain consent process for managing existing marine farms within environmental limits, and to implement a nationally-consistent framework for biosecurity management on all marine farms.
At present each regional council has its own set of rules for managing replacement marine farm consents. The NES will standardise rules nationally for renewals of existing marine farms. Within the next seven years, 689 existing marine farm consents - 60% of the industry - are due to expire.
The Ministers say the new rules will focus public input on the management of existing marine farms to a more strategic regional planning level through participation in regional coastal plan processes.