Do I need to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in order to set up an aquaculture farm?
If a project is likely to have a significant effect on the environment, an EIA must be carried out before a marine licence can be granted. The aims of an EIA are to protect the environment and allow the public to play a part in making decisions (Source: MMO website). The Regulator in this case therefore is the MMO.
The requirement for an EIA is covered by Annex II of the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 as amended. Applications for new aquaculture operations will need screening against this Annex to check if an EIA is required (mainly sections 1 (f) and (g)). In general, shellfish farming operations are not normally subject to the requirement for an EIA. Finfish farming activities by comparison often require an EIA as part of the Marine Licensing process especially where production will be classed as intensive.