Recommendations for licensing process
An electronic licensing system is a set of computer-based tools and services that automate and streamline the licence application process. The intent of electronic application is to reduce processing time, improve customer service, increase efficiency and enhance quality. An electronic application system would replace the traditional paper systems.
Ineffective communication has been highlighted as an area that contributes both directly and indirectly to many bottlenecks and issues found in the current aquaculture licencing process in member states. Poor communication has been identified within and between decision makers and is exacerbated by fragmentation and the multiple agencies involved. A proposed method for improving the coordination of agencies and administrative authorities is the creation of a ‘one-stop-shops’ that centralises, coordinates and processes all the permits, licences and reports to do with the licencing process. This One Stop Shop (OSS) would incorporate all agencies and authorities that have responsibilities for aquaculture, allowing the OSS to act as the sole authority. It would provide all services required by the applicant to complete a successful application in a defined time period.
By completing this review member states can identify inefficiencies, duplication or unnecessary complexities within the current system. Efforts can be focused on exacting the most effective change; reduce complexity, streamlining the process and creating a logical, simplified pathway to efficiently guide decision makers through the process.
Effective communication in aquaculture is key to the sustainable development of the industry. In a survey of aquaculture stakeholders across Europe, issues with communication in different elements of licensing, regulation and development of the industry were found to be bottlenecks to sustainable development. In particular, areas concerning increasing competition for space and the need for effective management of resources is necessary. Local communication platforms can facilitate stakeholders to establish management systems and local plans for their shared resource on a local level. An effective communication platform is a pronounced benefit to local zonal management.
Member states should actively support the development of public information platforms to provide a portal of information to assist with a broader understanding of aquaculture. These platforms should provide information which is factual, current, informative and provided by a reliable and impartial source. An independent communication platform should serve as a reference point for the public, the media and the political system, where they can find information that is reliable and trustworthy when they have queries or need clarifications regarding the aquaculture sector.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is a strategic and integrated approach that supports policy and planning decisions within the marine environment. It is a process that brings together multiple stakeholders to coordinate and manage activities in the spatial environment and to be successful it requires cooperation from all stakeholders. Under the Maritime Spatial Planning Directive, all EU Member States must establish marine spatial plans by 2021.