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Fish Farm Consents

Scotland has a robust legislative and regulatory framework in place which provides the right balance between developing the fish farming sector and protecting the pristine environment on which the sector depends. All farms must meet strict guidelines to ensure that the environmental effects are assessed and managed safely.

Marine fish and seaweed farms

Before setting up or running a fish or seaweed farm, you first have to obtain licences and approval from a number of organisations. Which consents you require will depend on what you want to farm.

Freshwater and land-based farms

Freshwater and land-based farms may require all the consents below, except for a marine licence and Crown Estate lease.


Existing consents

You can find details of planning permissions issued to fish farms on the relevant local authority website. For older farms some planning permissions were also granted by the Scottish Government through the Audit and Review process.

You can find details of fish farm consents issued by SEPA, Marine Scotland, Food Standards Scotland and the Crown Estate on the Scotland’s Aquaculture Website which brings together regulatory data collected by the main industry regulators. 

Financial support

Financial support may be available to help develop or modify your farm through the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Independent review of aquaculture consenting

We are always looking to improve the process and efficiency of the consenting process for fish farms in Scotland. In 2015 Marine Scotland and The Crown Estate jointly commissioned an independent review of the consenting process for aquaculture. The final report of the review was published in July 2016 and the Scottish Government responded in January 2017. The Scottish Government is working closely with members of the Capacity Working Group on the implementation of the recommendations; a table provides further information on latest progress.