Apply for an ornamental aquaculture licence

If you maintain an aquarium for a hobby and sell your plants, invertebrates or fish you must have an aquaculture licence.

It is illegal to sell aquatic life (including plants, invertebrates and fish) without an aquaculture licence issued by NT Fisheries.

There are two types of aquaculture licence:

  • a commercial aquaculture licence for large commercial operations
  • an ornamental aquaculture licence for aquarium hobbyists.

Read about aquaculture in the NT for information about the different types of licence.

What the licence covers

An ornamental aquaculture licence is suitable for small-scale aquarium hobbyists who want to breed and sell their fish, aquatic plants and invertebrates. The facility must hold less than 10,000 litres of water.

You can get more information on the ornamental licence by contacting Fisheries Licensing on 08 8999 2370.

How to apply

To apply for a licence you have to do all of the following:

  1. Obtain permits and approvals.
  2. Prepare a licence proposal.
  3. Complete and submit a licence application.

You  should discuss your proposal with NT Fisheries before you start to apply for a licence.

Permits and approvals

If you are planning to sell aquatic life from your home you will need to consider the following:

  • limits on the size of a business that can be run from home
  • planning requirements for house alterations or additional structures
  • although unlikely for a hobby aquarium, a water extraction licence or waste discharge licence may be needed if water is to be used other than from the domestic supply, particularly large amounts of water.

On the plan you submit as part of you licence proposal, you must show you have considered the amount of water you will use and the volume does not trigger NT Environmental Protection Authority permits or licences.

Go to the NT Environmental Protection Authority website for more information.

Licence proposal

Once you have the necessary permits and approvals, you can prepare a proposal for an ornamental aquaculture licence.

Your proposal must have all the information that NT Fisheries will need to decide whether or not to grant you a licence.

You should talk to NT Fisheries before starting your proposal to make sure you have all the information you will need. Contact the senior licensing officer on 08 8999 2370.

Read more about preparing a proposal.

Complete and submit an application

When you have finalised your proposal you must complete the following application form:

The application can be in the name of a company, partnership or an individual:

  • if the licence is for an individual or partnership fill in the top left hand side of the form
  • if the licence is for a company then fill in the top right hand side of the form.

When finalising your application you must ensure:

  • the aquaculture location (the location of the operation) is included
  • the species you are breeding are listed
  • proof of identity is included:
    • for an individual this is a copy of a drivers licence or passport
    • for a partnership, documentation to prove that the partnership exists along with the individual proof of identity for each partner will be required
    • for a company this is the extract from Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
  • the form is signed by all applicants
  • the finalised notice of intent or aquaculture licence proposal is included plus other permits and approvals
  • the licence fee is included with your application.

Licence fee

The fee for the ornamental aquaculture licence is $100.

How to submit your application

You can submit your application to Fisheries Licensing by email, mail or in person:


Fisheries Licensing
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade
GPO Box 3000
Darwin NT 0801


Fisheries Licensing
Goff Letts Building 
Berrimah Farm
Makagon Road


You can contact the senior licensing officer by calling 08 8999 2370 for assistance with your application.

Last updated: 28 January 2022

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