The role of community and company identities in the social license to operate for fin-fish farming

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Scotland is currently one of the major aquaculture producers of Atlantic salmon. However, alongside its rapid growth over the last two decades, advocacy and conservation groups have initiated petitions, campaigns, and legal challenges, resulting in a perception that Scottish fin-fish farming is having a crises of social acceptance. A qualitative, grounded, case study approach was taken to explore this issue in-depth, using the theoretical framework of social license to operate. The Isle of Lewis and Harris and the county of Argyll and Bute were chosen due to their shared maritime cultures, the prominence of fin-fish aquaculture, and cultural and socio-economic differences between them. Interviews with community members and stakeholders were thematically analysed and showed that perceptions of fin-fish farming are complex. Community identity, as well as industry identity are shown to play an important role in perceptions of the industry. This has impacts upon SLO for the fin-fish farming industry, and the actions that the industry takes to integrate with local communities. Further, this work adds to the expanding evidence base within SLO literature, that context is key, and should be a significant consideration in an industry’s corporate social strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number738081
Number of pages12
Early online date3 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2022


  • Social license to operate
  • Aquaculture
  • Place attachement
  • Identity


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