We lease areas seabed for use in aquaculture. The rents and charges we set for that seabed reflects its value to the business using it.
Periodically, we review those rents and charges aim to ensure that they remain consistent with relevant market value.
How rents are levied
Our rents are levied according to the species being farmed. They divide broadly into two categories:
- those based on harvested production and market price (finfish); and
- those based on consented equipment/capacity (shellfish and seaweed).
Rents for finfish farm leases are charged in arrears for 6 monthly rent assessment periods. They include provisions for charges where either:
- there is no harvested production (minimum rent); or
- fish are being raised for subsequent on-growing to harvest elsewhere (nursery site rent)
Both of these provisions also relate to the site’s consented capacity.
Rents for shellfish and seaweed farm leases are charged annually in advance, irrespective of whether production is taking place.
Aquaculture sector rents
Shellfish and seaweed
Rent is charged as a tariff per metre of deployed equipment (long-line, raft, trestle, etc) on an annual basis but subject to a minimum rent that applies in all cases for farms where the rent charged per metre of deployed equipment would fall below this minimum amount.
(Note: A discount of 10% will apply to shellfish farm leases in Shetland, Orkney and the Outer Hebrides until 1st January 2026). Payments are due in advance on 1st January for the calendar year
|Sector||Species||Rent £/m of deployed equipment||Minimum rent per annum|
Finfish rent categories
Finfish rents are calculated for each rent assessment period. There are two in each calendar year – January to June, and July to December. In any rent assessment period one of three charges will apply:
- production rent: where fish have been harvested from the site
- minimum rent: where a site is not in productive use
- nursery site rent: where no fish have been harvested from the site, but the site has been stocked for eventual on-growing elsewhere
Invoices are raised in arrears at the end of each assessment period.
Finfish production rent
Rent is charged at a rate of 1% of notional turnover (increasing to 1.5% from 1st January 2026).
Turnover is assessed as:
- the product of the total gutted weight of harvested fish and the average of the reported monthly Fish Pool Index (FPI) spot price (€/kg for 3kg to 6kg superior HOG Atlantic salmon) for the rent assessment period
- converted to pounds sterling, at the average monthly HMRC exchange rate
Rent is calculated as for salmon but with a subsequent 50% adjustment.
Production rent illustration
If the rent calculated from harvested tonnage would be less than the applicable minimum rent, the minimum rent will be charged.
Finfish minimum rent
Minimum rents for leased salmon sites are calculated as £1500.00 per 500 tonne tranche of the maximum biomass consented by the site’s Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) licence from SEPA.
Where there are no fish harvested from a site in a rent assessment period, a minimum rent will be charged at 50% of the applicable annual rate shown below.
After four years of nil production, minimum rents will be escalated by 100% every second year. Escalation will end once the site is brought back into productive use, or the lease is renounced by the tenant.
|Consented Biomass (tonnes)||Minimum Rent||Year 5||Year 7||Year 9|
|500 < 1000||£3,000||£6,000||£12,000||£24,000|
|1000 < 1500||£4,500||£9,000||£18,000||£36,000|
|1500 < 2000||£6,000||£12,000||£24,000||£48,000|
|2000 < 2500||£7,500||£15,000||£30,000||£60,000|
|2500 < 3000||£9,000||£18,000||£36,000||£72,000|
Minimum rents for trout leases are rated at 50% of the amounts shown above.
Finfish nursery site rent
Leased sites that are used to produce fish that are transferred and on-grown to harvest at another location (i.e. so-called ‘nursery sites’ that yield no harvested production but are nevertheless in productive use) will now be liable for an annual rent equivalent to three times the applicable minimum rent, recognising the value delivered by leased area of seabed.
For example, a leased site licenced by CAR for a maximum biomass of 900 tonnes and used to produce juvenile fish for on-growing at another location will be liable for rent of 3 x £3000 = £9000 pa.
Nursery sites rents for trout sites will also be rated at 50% of that for salmon.
(Note: it is assumed that fish from such nursery sites will be on-grown at another site within the same producer company/business, i.e.. an internal transfer, and the charging regime above reflects this situation. Where fish from a nursery site are sold on to a third party they will be counted and charged as harvested production).
Mixed-use site rent
Crown Estate Scotland may implement different rents for shellfish and/or seaweed farming agreements to those set out above, in the following circumstances:
- where consent is secured for cultivation of multiple shellfish species at the same location or combined shellfish and seaweed cultivation at the same location, and a seabed lease agreed for this, the annual rent charged shall be that which applies for the highest (rent) value species consented for cultivation, irrespective of whether it is actively farmed in any year or not
- Eg – a lease for farming mussels and scallops and seaweeds will be charged rent as if it were a mussel farming lease, whether mussels are being cultivated or not.
- where consent is secured for a multi-trophic site, combining finfish cultivation with that of shellfish and/or seaweeds, the rent shall be that for the finfish production or in years of no finfish production, the applicable Minimum finfish rent
- where a lease is granted for consented shellfish or seaweed cultivation at a location where the leaseholder also retains extant statutory consents (planning permission and CAR licence) for finfish production that confer an exercisable production capacity at that location, subject to a lease being secured, Crown Estate Scotland reserves the right to reflect the value accruing to the location through that latent capacity by levying an annual rent for the shellfish/seaweed lease equivalent to the applicable Minimum finfish rent for the extant finfish production consents in place
Any proposals for farming shellfish and/or seaweed in such circumstance should therefore be discussed with us in the first instance.
In addition to seabed Leases, prospective developers can apply for provisional agreements for short term secure seabed interest – a lease option agreement – that is subject to a one-off charge.
Lease option agreements
For lease option agreements, the following one-off charges apply:
|Seaweed||All species||£135.00||3 years|