Introduction

Apply for an exemption from the requirement to maintain a culvert or ford to allow fish passage, to construct a dam or diversion structure or modify an existing fish facility.

Under the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations DOC has responsibilities to manage fish passage in any natural New Zealand waterway. This means:

  • culverts and fords may not impede (ie delay or prevent by obstructing) fish passage unless they have been approved or exempted by DOC
  • DOC needs to determine if all dams or diversion structures proposed to be built and built post 1983 require a fish facility
  • existing fish facilities may not be structurally modified without approval from DOC.

Pre-application meeting 

Applying for an authorisation for the first time can be a little tricky. To ensure your application goes smoothly we offer a free pre-application meeting. We’ll also help you contact the local iwi to assess whether your proposed activity will have any cultural effects.

Exemption for culverts and fords impeding fish passage

If your existing culvert or ford impedes the movement of fish, or will do so in the future, you’ll need to follow the process below:

If the structure as a risk of impeding passage:

You will be provided with an estimated cost and timeframe after you have submitted your application. We will invoice you once we have processed your application based on the time spent processing it. 

If your application for exemption is approved we will send you documentation and final invoice.

If your application for exemption is not granted, the culvert or ford must be removed or remediated to provide unimpeded passage.

Fish facilities for dams and diversion structures

If you are planning to construct a dam or diversion structure, or you have a dam or diversion structure that was built post 1983 (and has not been assessed to determine if a fish facility is required) you’ll need to follow the process below to determine whether a fish facility is required

First, see our guidance (PDF, 188K) to determine if your structure is exempt from assessment.

If your structure is not exempted, then:

Once your application has been assessed, DOC will inform you as to whether you are required to include a fish facility. This requirement may be incorporated into other Permissions documentation. 

You will be provided with an estimated cost and timeframe after you have submitted your application. We will invoice you once we have processed your application based on the time spent processing it. 

It’s an offence to wilfully damages a fish facility and fish facilities must be properly maintained and/or repaired if damaged. 

Proposed fish facility alteration

If you are planning to structurally alter an existing fish facility (please refer to regulation 2 of the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983 for the definition of fish facility) you’ll need to follow the process below:

You will be provided with an estimated cost and timeframe after you have submitted your application. We will invoice you once we have processed your application based on the time spent processing it. 

If your application is approved we will send you an authorisation and final invoice.   

Environmental Impact Assessment

As part of your application you may need to complete a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Contact us

For more information or assistance with your concession contact the nearest of these DOC offices.


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