Planning and licensing for marine aquaculture

Lynne Falconer, Karl Cutajar, Amalia Krupandan, Elisa Capuzzo, Richard A. Corner, Tim Ellis, Keith Jeffery, Eirik Mikkelsen, Heather Moore, Francis X. O'beirn, Pauline O'donohoe, Neil M. Ruane, Robyn Shilland, Paul Tett, Trevor C. Telfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


Marine aquaculture has the potential to increase its contribution to the global food system and provide valuable ecosystem services, but appropriate planning, licensing and regulation systems must be in place to enable sustainable development. At present, approaches vary considerably throughout the world, and several national and regional investigations have highlighted the need for reforms if marine aquaculture is to fulfil its potential. This article aims to map and evaluate the challenges of planning and licensing for growth of sustainable marine aquaculture. Despite the range of species, production systems and circumstances, this study found a number of common themes in the literature; complicated and fragmented approaches to planning and licensing, property rights and the licence to operate, competition for space and marine spatial planning, emerging species and diversifying marine aquaculture production (seaweed production, Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture [IMTA], nutrient and carbon offsetting with aquaculture, offshore aquaculture and co-location and multiuse platforms), and the need to address knowledge gaps and use of decision-support tools. Planning and licensing can be highly complicated, so the UK is used as a case study to show more detailed examples that highlight the range of challenges and uncertainty that industry, regulators and policymakers face across interacting jurisdictions. There are many complexities, but this study shows that many countries have undergone, or are undergoing, similar challenges, suggesting that lessons can be learned by sharing knowledge and experiences, even across different species and production systems, rather than having a more insular focus.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
JournalReviews in Aquaculture
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2023


  • aquaculture planning
  • environmental management
  • licensing
  • regulation
  • sustainable development


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