Subdivide an aquaculture lease - information kit

What is involved in a lease subdivision?

A subdivision of an aquaculture lease is where a lessee decides to split one lease into 2 or more separate lease areas. The new leases become different entities and are covered by separate lease agreements.

When can an aquaculture lease be subdivided?

An application to subdivide a lease may be submitted at any time while the lease is current.  Any lease that has expired or has been otherwise terminated cannot be subdivided.

If a mortgage or other interest is endorsed on the lease, a subdivision application will not be progressed without the written consent of the party who has a registered interest in the lease.

How is an application to subdivide a lease duly made?

  • Complete the lease subdivision application form (link provided above).  This involves completing every section of the form in clear and legible print. Ensure that all lessees sign the form. An incomplete application form will be rejected.
  • Attach a copy of the lease plan, which shows the proposed boundaries of the leases to be created from the subdivision.
  • Submit payment of the application fee (refer to the aquaculture fee schedule).

Does the lease need to be surveyed and new lease plans to be generated for the new proposed leases?

Yes. A survey of the proposed lease areas will be required, at the lessee’s expense, prior to the subdivision of any aquaculture lease. NSW DPI will advise you when to engage the services of a registered surveyor.

For further information on aquaculture lease surveys, refer to the lease survey specifications.

What will be the term of the new leases?

The expiry date of the original lease will be the expiry date of the new leases created from the subdivision.

Are the subdivided leases given new lease numbers?

Yes.  New aquaculture lease numbers will be allocated to the newly created leases. These new lease numbers will need to be shown on the new lease plans.

Who is responsible for ordering and installing new lease markings and lease signs?

Once the subdivision is finalised, NSW DPI will provide the lessee with details of the lease marking and lease sign requirements. The lessee is responsible for the installation of lease markings and signs within the timeframe given.

Lease sign specifications are outlined in the NSW Aquaculture Industry Sustainable Aquaculture Strategy 2021 (OISAS).

How can the lease subdivision application fee be paid?

Payment options are provided on the lease subdivision application form.

Is the application fee refundable if the application is withdrawn or refused?

If an application to subdivide an aquaculture lease is withdrawn or refused, NSW DPI is not required to refund the application fee. NSW DPI may refund a portion of the fee if appropriate.

What happens after an application is lodged?

NSW DPI will check to ensure the lessee has addressed all matters relating to the subdivision. If anything is missing or outstanding, the application will not be progressed until all outstanding requirements are met.  If these are not met in a reasonable timeframe, the application may be refused.

Once all requirements are met, NSW DPI will create new lease numbers for the proposed leases and advise the lessee to engage the services of a registered surveyor, who will need to survey the proposed leases and generate new lease plans.

Once the lessee lodges these draft lease plans and NSW DPI approves these plans, the department will generate new lease documents, which will be sent to the lessee for signing. There are 2 copies of the lease documents - original and duplicate - and both must be signed, witnessed and returned to NSW DPI within 60 days. Failure to return the lease documents within this timeframe may result in the refusal of the subdivision application.

If the lease documents are returned within the 60-day timeframe, NSW DPI will finalise the subdivision and publish the details in the NSW Government Gazette. The original lease documents will be returned to the lessee for safekeeping.

When would an application to subdivide a lease be refused?

An application to subdivide an aquaculture lease may be refused if:

  • the applicant is disqualified from holding an aquaculture permit.
  • the applicant fails to complete any requirements of the transaction within a reasonable timeframe.
  • the applicant has aquaculture debt that has been outstanding for more than 90 days.
  • the applicant has failed to clean up a previously terminated lease area.
  • the subdivision of the lease is not in the public interest.

Before an application is refused, NSW DPI may write to the applicant inviting them to lodge objections to the refusal of the application.

Where can more information about subdividing an aquaculture lease be obtained?

For more information, contact Aquaculture Administration via email at

Application checklist

This checklist will help you to lodge a successful application.

  • Have you completed every section of the application form?
  • Has the application form been signed by all lessees?
  • Is the lease current at the time of application?
  • Have you paid any outstanding aquaculture lease or permit fees?
  • Have you addressed all outstanding clean up responsibilities on any terminated lease area?
  • If a mortgage or other interest is endorsed on the lease documents, have you organised for this mortgage or interest to be discharged? Have you attached evidence of the discharge to the subdivision application form?