Choosing a site

Selecting a suitable site is crucial to the success of any aquaculture business.

Growth and survival of your chosen fish and shellfish depends heavily on the site you choose. A range of physical and biological factors, including sea water temperature, salinity, exposure and pollutants will all affect the health of your stock.

On top of this, it is vital to consider that many areas of the UK coastal zone have been designated as conservation sites (or Marine Protected Areas), in which certain marine activities may be restricted or monitored. If you are considering a site which is protected, it is advisable to contact the appropriate conservation agency before taking steps.

There will also be a number of legal and regulatory issues to consider before choosing a site. For example, water abstraction and discharge will be relevant for culturists rearing fish, while water classifications are an important matter for shellfish culturists.

CEFAS has produced three useful guidance notes on site selection:

Seafish guidance notes about harvesting areas, bivalve purification and individual species can be found here.