Cage aquaculture is the farming of fish in floating net pens in lakes or other bodies of water that maintain an open exchange of water for rearing fish. The fish are raised to market size and subsequently sold for human consumption. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) and its supporting Regulation (Ontario Regulation 664/98) a licence is required to engage in aquaculture. In addition, cage aquaculture facilities may trigger obligations under other provincial and federal statutes. To simplify the review of cage aquaculture applications by provincial and federal agencies, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) will lead a 'One Window' process with the goal of improved efficiency and reduced process burden while maintaining the desired environmental outcomes. The Application Guidelines for Cage Aquaculture Facilities (Application Guidelines) has been developed in collaboration with federal and provincial agencies with a role in aquaculture and are intended for use by applicants of one of the following applications types:
• TYPE A: Application for a New Aquaculture Licence;
• TYPE B: Application to Change an Existing Aquaculture Operation/Facility; or
• TYPE C: Application for Standard Re-Issuance or Administrative Amendment.
The Application Guidelines outline the application preparation, submission and review process for approvals for cage facilities including:
• Description of application types;
• Application preparation and submission requirements;
• Application review process;
• Relevant federal and provincial legislation, guidelines, manuals, policies; and
• Consultation and notification processes.
The Application Guidelines will be supported by a new cage aquaculture application form (https://apps.mnr.gov.on.ca/public/files/er/final-cage-culture-form-en.pdf). Additionally, the Application Guidelines are supported by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) draft Provincial Policy Objectives for Managing Effects of Cage Aquaculture Operations on the Quality of Water and Sediment in Ontario’s Waters. This policy sets the water and sediment quality policy objectives to ensure the long-term environmental sustainability of commercial-scale cage aquaculture operations in Ontario. The policy is subject to a proposal notice and is available for public review (www.ontario.ca/environmentalregistry and search 012-7186).