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Shellfish being harvested

Root and branch review of aquaculture leasing in Scotland

A comprehensive ‘root and branch’ review of how Scotland’s seabed is leased for aquaculture will aim to promote sustainable development and wider value, Crown Estate Scotland announced today.

As the body responsible for the leasing of Scotland’s seabed and around half the foreshore, Crown Estate Scotland currently leases around 750 sites for finish and shellfish farming.

The review is part of a wider examination of Crown Estate Scotland’s approach to aquaculture and aligns with The Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019, which puts sustainable development at the heart of how Crown assets are managed in Scotland.

The review will be informed by recommendations from by an expert panel, working alongside Crown Estate Scotland staff, regarding the setting of rents and granting of leases & licenses moving forward. It is anticipated that industry representatives will be given the opportunity to feed into the panel’s work.

Alex Adrian, Aquaculture Operations Manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “This review is essential to ensure that we are keeping up with the pace of an ever-changing sector. Aquaculture businesses sustain jobs in some fragile, remote communities and have wider interactions with the environment. 

“We want to ensure that we are signing up to not just the letter but also the spirit of the new legislation that sets out our role, including ensuring sustainable development is the guiding principle for our activities.”

Work to carry out the review will be issued through an Invitation To Tender process on the Scottish Government’s Public Contracts Scotland website. Recommendations are expected to be implemented in January 2022.