Aquaculture of salmonids is one of the fastest growing food-production sectors in the world, and is expected to further dominate the seafood market in the coming years.

Although aquaculture is one of the most sustainable ways to produce animal protein, it is necessary to regulate the production carefully to limit the impact on the environment and natural diversity, promote profitability for the industry and ensure purposeful use of land and coastal areas. Most countries have introduced regulations to safeguard these purposes by establishing aquaculture license regimes.

This comparative study investigates the allocation regime for aquaculture licenses for salmonids. Aquaculture law specialists Pedro S. Leite, Mette Remø and Bernt Bjørnsen Magnus present the regulations in seven countries: Chile, The Faroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and Scotland.

Main findings:

  • Aquaculture regulations are complex as environmental and biological aspects must be taken into consideration for the allocation of licenses. Most countries, Norway included, have extensive allocation regimes with several authorities involved. This is a major challenge for the industry. To achieve sustainable growth, there must be a foundation in place which facilitates efficient management.
  • The Norwegian system stands out with several different license types for aquaculture of salmonids, while most other countries only have one type of license for marine finfish.
  • Aquaculture licenses can be freely transferred, although it may require approval and registration from the authorities. Foreign ownership is allowed if the conditions for establishing a business in the country are met. Only Chile and the Faroe Islands have special restrictions regarding ownership of the licenses. Several of the countries, Norway included, have restrictions regarding lease and sub-lease. 
  • Norway is the only country that has time limited  the licenses. However, at the same time Norway is also the only country that requires a consideration for allocation/purchase of new, ordinary licenses. The report shows that in general aquaculture licenses worldwide are easy to acquire, renew and extend. Hence, the Norwegian legislation differs from the other countries in this respect.

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