Study on activities that may be exempt from requiring a marine licence

MARA is a new State agency with responsibility for licencing certain marine activities including:

  • marine environmental surveys for the purposes of scientific discovery & research and
  • marine environmental surveys for the purposes of site investigation or in support of an application for planning for major developments.

To understand the impact such activities may have on the marine environment, MARA has initiated a study with the Marine Institute. The output of this study, expected Q1 2024, will inform MARA if changes in the licence regime are warranted.  If so, MARA will engage with the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to prioritise drafting legislative amendments to exempt some ‘low risk’ activities that are marine licensable.

The Marine Institute commented:

The Marine Institute is engaging with internal and external marine experts to help identify and propose activities that may be suitable for exemption.  This will be carried out by assessing marine data collection processes, publically available data and survey techniques used in other mature markets. A comprehensive catalogue of the types of activities will be reviewed. The approaches adopted in other jurisdictions will also inform the process.

Announcing the study, MARA’s CEO, Laura Brien said:

“The range of activities which require a marine licence is wide ranging from large complex works to smaller, low risk works. This is an important project which could result in an innovative approach to our licensing regime and ensure applications are treated in a proportionate way. The outcome of this work will be of interest to a number of our stakeholders, including industry, in particular those dealing with Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) and other maritime developments.”Mara’s marine licensing team can be contacted at the following email address: