Marine pen fish farm charges

  28 June 2022

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has released a statement below following the approval of proposals to increase application and activity charges for marine pen fish farms.


Peter Pollard, SEPA’s Head of Ecology, said:

“In 2019, we introduced a strong and globally ambitious revised regulatory regime and an aquaculture sector plan focused on environmental protection, innovation and sustainability. A high-quality environment is vital to all of Scotland’s communities and business – including the aquaculture sector. 

“There has been significant change in the type of work we do to authorise and regulate the marine fish farm industry, from how we assess the initial applications through to the way we monitor fish farms, audit the way operators manage their activities and directly inspect the site. 

“To deliver the resources needed to enhance our levels of regulatory service and facilitate effective protection of the marine environment we are increasing the application charges for finfish farm licences/permits and the annual charges. 

“Increased cost recovery will enable us to invest in staff resources, increasing the number of full-time equivalents working to ensure effective, risk-based regulation of marine finfish farms and a high standard of service for developers and the public. This will include enhancing our audit monitoring capabilities and our assessments of the environmental effects of fish farms, and further developing our early screening assessment service so that the potential risks associated with proposals for new sites or significant expansions of existing sites are understood by the industry and local communities. 

“We consulted on these changes in 2020 and have taken on board feedback from the industry, partner organisations and communities. In response to the feedback, we have included an intermediate charging category for farm developments up to 500 tonnes. 

“Scottish Ministers have signed off on our new charging scheme and we plan to implement the new charges from September 2022.”



Notes to editor

  • The largest increase is the charge for new applications. SEPA’s pre-application process helps developers understand the likelihood of obtaining permission before making an application. The application fees only apply when an application is made.
  • You can find our consultation analysis and response here.