Banner Image
Licensing of Wild Seaweed Harvesting

Licensing of wild seaweed harvesting

Our policy on seaweed harvesting (where it is proposed on Crown foreshore/seabed in Scotland) is to licence it, to ensure sustainable practice. 

You require a licence from Crown Estate Scotland if:

  • you are hand-harvesting seaweed from Crown foreshore or seabed in Scotland; and
  • you are doing so for any form of monetary or other reward

Before we grant a licence, we will need  confirmation from NatureScot (the relevant environmental authority) that the harvesting proposal does not present any evident, unacceptable environmental risks or impacts.

Our licensing requirements

We require the following information in order to proceed with a proposal: 

An indication of the stretch(es) of coastline in question.

  • we will need some detail on the exact locations as co-ordinates or plans of the stretches of foreshore/seabed, to establish whether it is Crown land or not.
  • we will also need to know whether you propose to harvest on foreshore only (i.e., between marks of mean low water and mean high water spring tides) or on seabed below the mean low water spring tide mark as well 

An indication of the species of interest

An indication of the annual wet weight volume of seaweed sought.

We appreciate that this may not be available in any detail but to know whether it will amount to 10's or 100's of kgs or tonnes will help to determine the nature of licence that may be required.

Harvest options

Please note that larger scale proposals (> circa 90 – 100 tonnes wet weight per annum) for foreshore and near-shore harvesting of seaweed that is not subject to statutory licensing will be subject to a harvest licence options process.

  • this offers conditional interest at identified locations that can be applied for during two designated ‘application windows’ per year - These will be the first fortnights in March and September each year. 
  • this process aims to address competing harvest interest for larger scale activities on Crown foreshore in Scotland, and will constitute the only means whereby licences for volumes qualifying for this options process can be secured. 

All applications must include documented confirmation from relevant environmental authority stating their satisfaction that the proposed activity is sustainable and will not result in any significant adverse environmental effects.  

All proposals must be submitted to who will deal with it accordingly.

Collection for personal use

Collection for personal use does not require a licence and we are content for such collection to proceed for small quantities appropriate to personal use. We recommend anyone doing so takes account of the environmental sensitivity of collecting anything from the wild.  

Please note that it is Crown Estate Scotland policy not to licence harvesting of natural seaweeds in designated conservation areas unless there is clear confirmation of no potential risk posed to qualifying features.