Seaweed harvesting

The Crown Estate manages the seabed and about half the foreshore around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

Our policy on seaweed harvesting is to licence it to ensure sustainable practice where it is proposed on Crown foreshore/seabed.

Hand harvesting of seaweed for any form of monetary or other reward from Crown foreshore or seabed requires a licence from The Crown Estate. The granting of the licence is dependent upon relevant natural heritage authority approval (Natural England in most cases) and on the sustainability of the harvesting proposal.

We require the following in order to proceed with your application:

  1. 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 MLW and MHW) or whether on seabed below MLW as well
  2. An indication of the species of interest
  3. 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
  4. All applications must include documented confirmation from Natural England (or a relevant natural heritage authority) stating their satisfaction that the proposed activity is sustainable and will not result in any significant adverse environmental effects. Applicants can contact Natural England by email to consultations@naturalengland.org.uk.

All applications must then be submitted to enquiries@thecrownestate.co.uk who will deal with your application accordingly.

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

Please note that it is Crown Estate policy not to licence harvesting of natural seaweeds in designated conservation areas.