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REF 76 - Fish farm licences applied for

Request

1.      As part of this we are trying to understand the rate of new licenses applied for/approved over the past 3 years and the typical total costs associated with this.

2.      Would you be able to provide any information on, typical time for approval and approximate success rate for applications to the Crown Estate?

Response

Background to the application process before providing answers to your questions which are specifically on Crown Estate Scotland. The consenting process for marine finfish farms in Scotland across the agencies involved is documented (link below) and includes 4 separate statutory permissions in addition to a lease of seabed from Crown Estate Scotland. A seabed lease can only be granted once all of the statutory consents have been secured, at which point an application may be submitted or a previous lease Option Agreement exercised for a lease.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/independent-review-scottish-aquaculture-consenting/

1.       We have granted lease agreements for 10 new finfish sites over the past three years. These figures are for completely new agreements which have been are subject to all the regulatory and leasing requirements and do not include any modifications to existing farm sites or lease renewals.

Crown Estate Scotland do not charge a lease application fee but will charge an annual rent once a lease agreement has been entered into based upon the harvested production of the immediately preceding calendar year. The current production tariff is £27.50 per harvested gutted weight tonne of fish (discounted by 10% if leased farms are located on the outer isles.

The total number of finfish lease applications we have received in the last three years has been 10, all of which were granted leases and so the success rate is 100% over this period. This is because prospective tenants would not (and could not) apply for a Crown Estate Scotland lease without having first secured all the necessary statutory permissions to operate a finfish farm. It is almost unknown for us to refuse to grant a lease where all necessary consents are in place since most new finfish leases are to established operators who are existing tenants already and will have engaged with us on granting criteria and requirements for tenancy ahead of submitting a formal application, to ensure that it is acceptable.

2.       The time to process a lease application can take from one to three months depending on both the quality of the application (e.g. the accuracy of the co-ordinates supplied for the seabed area requested) and the prevailing workload of the Crown Estate Scotland Geographic Information System team who produce the plans for the lease.