Broodstock and Seedstock Collection Permits

The following information will assist anyone wishing to collect aquatic resources for the purpose of broodstock or seedstock for aquaculture.

  • Broodstock refers to the taking of sexually mature aquatic resources of the State as defined by the Fisheries Management Act 2007 to provide reproductive material for the purposes of aquaculture.
  • Seedstock refers to the taking of juvenile aquatic resources of the State for the purpose of commercial aquaculture.

As different aquaculture sectors require access to stock, either from the wild or from hatcheries, the broodstock and seedstock collection permits only apply to those animals captured from the wild within South Australian waters.

If the broodstock or seedstock collection is undertaken by a licensed commercial fisher in accordance with his/her commercial fishing licence, a broodstock or seedstock collection permit will not be required.

In recognition that most fisheries in South Australia have well established management regimes, the broodstock and seedstock collection permits have been designed to ensure that the requirements of the aquaculture industry are consistent with the ecologically sustainable development (ESD) objectives of the Fisheries Management Act 2007. The permits are intended to accommodate broodstock and seedstock requests from the aquaculture industry within the fisheries management arrangements for the species of interest.

The permits are not intended to reduce access to the resource for existing fishers or to guide the management or release of those fish produced from stock for stock-enhancement purposes or to the management of aquarium trade species.

The following guidelines replace all previous policies or other determinations in relation to the collection of aquatic resources for the purposes of broodstock and seedstock collection for aquaculture purposes under the repealed Fisheries Act 1982 or under the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

This information should be read in conjunction with the Fisheries Management Act 2007 and its subordinate legislation.


The objectives of the broodstock and seedstock collection permits are to:

  • Ensure that collection of broodstock and seedstock in South Australia conforms to the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD)
  • Manage genetic and biosecurity risks
  • Provide clear guidelines for the aquatic resources of the State for broodstock and seedstock for commercial aquaculture purposes.
  • Provide transparency and certainty for stakeholders involved in the application process
  • Provide information on the rights and obligations of aquaculture operators wishing to undertake seedstock or broodstock collection activities
  • Support applicants’ understanding of the process that must be completed prior to undertaking seedstock and broodstock collection activities


The State’s aquatic resources are managed in accordance with the Fisheries Management Act 2007, including the collection of aquatic resources for broodstock and seedstock.  The objectives of this Act are to protect, manage, use and develop the aquatic resources of the State in a manner that is consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development (ESD); to that end, the following principles apply:

  • Proper conservation and management measures are to be implemented to protect the aquatic resources of the State from over-exploitation and ensure that those resources are not endangered
  • Access to the aquatic resources of the State is to be allocated between users of the resources in a manner that achieves optimum utilisation and equitable distribution of those resources to the benefit of the community
  • Aquatic habitats are to be protected and conserved, and aquatic ecosystems and genetic diversity are to be maintained and enhanced
  • Recreational fishing and commercial fishing activities are to be fostered for the benefit of the whole community
  • The participation of users of the aquatic resources of the State, and of the community more generally, in the management of fisheries is to be encouraged.

Ecologically Sustainable Development

a) sustaining the potential of aquatic resources of the State to meet the reasonably foreseeable needs of future generations; and

b) safeguarding the life-supporting capacity of the aquatic resources of the State; and

c) avoiding, remedying or mitigating adverse effects of activities on the aquatic resources of the State.

The Fisheries Management Act provides the regulatory framework for the administration of permits to be issued under the Fisheries Management (Miscellaneous Broodstock and Seedstock Fishery) Regulations 2013.

Permit holders must also comply with the Livestock Act 1997 and any regulations and notices made under that Act, and are liable to report notifiable conditions or diseases.

Aquaculture is managed in South Australia by PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture in accordance with the Aquaculture Act 2001. PIRSA has a regulatory responsibility for the administration of aquaculture in South Australia and does so through enabling the granting and renewal of licences and leases pursuant to the Aquaculture Act 2001. Approval for broodstock or seedstock collection will only be granted to current licence holders under the Aquaculture Act 2001.

Under the Aquaculture Act 2001, aquaculture means farming of aquatic organisms for the purposes of trade or business, where farming means an organised rearing process involving propagation or regular stocking or feeding of the organisms or protection of the organisms from predators or other similar intervention in the organisms' natural life cycles.


The Fisheries Management Act 2007 requires fisheries to be managed in a cost effective manner and that targets be set for the recovery of management costs. Consequently, there are a number of costs to applicants and permit holders associated with participating in broodstock and seedstock collection.

An application fee for a broodstock or seedstock collection permit is payable by all applicants at the time of submitting an application. This fee relates to the costs of assessing an application. All fees under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 are set at the beginning of each financial year.

Additionally, costs associated with permits transfers and other administrative fees will apply.

Application and Assessment Process

The application process is designed to allow all applications to be assessed fairly, and in accordance with the objects of the Fisheries Management Act, the Aquaculture Act, the precautionary principle and the principles of ESD.

All applications must use the Broodstock and Seedstock permit application form (PDF 283.0 KB) and be accompanied by the fee fixed by regulation.

Applications to collect broodstock or seedstock from aquatic reserves proclaimed under the Fisheries Management Act 2007 will not be supported, except where commercial fishing activities are permitted. An application that is intended to be undertaken, or partly undertaken, within a specially protected area will require consultation with the relevant Minister responsible for that area as part of the assessment process. Specially protected areas are defined in the Fisheries Management Act 2007 and include marine parks, the River Murray and the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary. Applications will not be supported if the collection of broodstock or seedstock is inconsistent with the objectives of the specially protected area or is a prohibited activity within the specially protected area.  If the proposed activity is within the boundaries of a Commonwealth marine protected area, consultation will need to be undertaken with the relevant Commonwealth department.

Applications for the take of threatened, endangered or protected species (TEPS) will only be considered if it serves a demonstrable broader community or conservation value (e.g. education or breeding for conservation programs).

All applications will undergo a formal assessment process.  Where an application does not contain sufficient information to determine the application, additional information will be requested to be supplied by the applicant. An application will be determined and will be either approved or refused.  Applications may be refused on various grounds, including the following:

  • The applicant is not a fit and proper person or disqualified from holding an authority under the Fisheries Management Act 2007
  • The application is inconsistent with the principles of the Fisheries Management Act 2007 or Aquaculture Act 2001
  • The applicant is not an aquaculture licence holder
  • Insufficient information has been provided by the applicant
  • There are sustainability concerns associated with the proposed activity

Compliance with the conditions and reporting requirements of any previous Ministerial exemptions or authorities (including permits) will also be taken into account when assessing applications.

Following receipt of the permit application, the Minister (or his/her delegate) must make a decision in respect of the application and notify the applicant of the outcome. If successful, an applicant will be issued with a broodstock or seedstock collection permit, which will contain the conditions with which the applicant must comply.

Unsuccessful applicants will receive written notification and reasons supporting the decision. If an applicant is dissatisfied with the decision, an appeal may be made under Part 9 of the Fisheries Management Act 2007.

The Minister (or his/her delegate) may impose and vary conditions on a permit. Some standard conditions will be applied to all permits granted for the purpose of collecting broodstock and seedstock.

Permit holders will be required to provide a written report to PIRSA Fisheries and Aquaculture detailing activities undertaken, including numbers taken, survival and mortality rates of target species and fish taken incidentally to the collection activity (including target species captured in excess of requirements at the time broodstock were collected).

In the event that a permit holder breaches the Fisheries Management Act 2007, associated regulations or conditions of a permit, the permit holder will incur demerit points if they are issued an expiation notice or found guilty by a court.  If a permit holder exceeds 200 demerit points, the permit holder will be dealt with in accordance with Part 8, Division 4 of the Fisheries Management Act 2007 and the permit must either be transferred to another party or acquired by the Minister.  The permit holder will also be disqualified for 10 years if they exceed 200 points.

Successful applicants may only commence the proposed activity upon receipt of their approved permit(s).

Broodstock Collection Permits

The purpose of a broodstock collection permit is to manage the take of sexually mature aquatic resources in the waters of the State to provide reproductive material for the purposes of aquaculture.

Extensive arrangements are already in place for the management of commercial fisheries in South Australia, and existing harvest limits are set to optimise the biological sustainability and economic viability of fishing activities. It is preferred that a commercial fishery licence holder is engaged by the aquaculture licence holder to collect the species to be used for broodstock. Where a commercial fishery licence holder undertakes the collection pursuant to their licence, a permit is not required. However, aquaculture licence holders are required to keep documents provided by the fish processor upon receipt of broodstock for compliance purposes.

Where the method or accessibility of the commercial fishers catch is deemed inadequate for aquaculture or if it is demonstrated that it is not possible for a commercial fishery licence holder to harvest the required aquatic resources for broodstock, a permit application may be considered. Approval for a broodstock collection permit will only be granted to the holders of licences under the Aquaculture Act 2007.

If the broodstock is being sourced by an aquaculture licence holder, applicants must demonstrate sound technical capability and the methodology to be used in the collection process. PIRSA will allow the collection of broodstock in circumstances where there is sufficient evidence that the collection method and management program for the broodstock provides an increased chance of survival and hence spawning success of those broodstock.

The number of fish that may be taken in accordance with a permit will be kept to a minimum. It must be demonstrated that the removal of the fish that are proposed to be taken from the wild stock will not impact adversely on the sustainability of that stock or other associated species.

Seedstock Collection Permits

The purpose of a seedstock collection permit is to manage the take of juvenile aquatic resources in waters of the state for the purpose of growing out on aquaculture sites.

The main seedstock species collected from the wild in South Australia to grow-out in aquaculture are Mussels (Mytilus edulis). The mussel aquaculture sector in SA currently relies on naturally settling seedstock for the source of mussels used to grow-out on aquaculture sites. Juvenile Mussels (spat) are collected at a variety of sites around the state by placing structures in the water onto which larval Mussels settle and begin to grow. Seedstock collection is seasonal and sites may vary from year-to-year.

Seedstock collection for Mussels has taken place for over 15 years, as such the activity and its impacts are well known. Where permits are granted for Mussel seedstock collection inside aquaculture zones these will be generally granted for three years. Seedstock collection outside of the established aquaculture zones will be approved for a maximum of six (6) months each year to prevent the use of the sites for grow-out purposes.

Seedstock permit conditions for species other than Mussels may reflect the need for additional information and increased monitoring to ensure the sustainability of the activity.

Consideration will be given to the impact of the equipment utilised to collect seedstock as well as its location to ensure it does not present a hazard to navigation, minimises conflict between resource users, and is sustainable.

Seedstock collection equipment must be duly marked, as per aquaculture licence conditions to prevent boating accidents and to facilitate compliance activities. Additional costs associated with seedstock collection such as notice to mariners, etc. may apply.

Page Last Reviewed: 08 Aug 2017
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