Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture Enterprise Zone under consideration for England and Wales

Crustaceans Sustainability Restorative aquaculture +8 more

Non-profit organisation has been commissioned by The Crown Estate to explore an Aquaculture Enterprise Zone model for England and Wales.

Kelp farming

The development of Aquaculture Enterprise Zones (AEZs) around England and Wales would support sustainable aquaculture by creating environments for cultivating seaweed, bivalves and crustaceans ©

The UK’s national landowner, The Crown Estate, has commissioned – a non-profit organisation that aims to redirect £50 billion of investment into climate and nature recovery by 2030 – to explore and develop the concept of Aquaculture Enterprise Zones (AEZs) around England and Wales.

This ground-breaking project aims to support the accelerated development of sustainable aquaculture nationally by creating supportive environments for cultivating sustainable seaweed, bivalves and crustaceans.

During this initial phase, the project’s primary focus is to listen and understand the needs of the growing regenerative aquaculture market in England and Wales, help shape tools and frameworks that accelerate the rollout of aquaculture initiatives, while offering significant local flexibility to meet place-based needs.

“We are excited to commission to test the Aquaculture Enterprise Zone concept for England and Wales. This project has the potential to help unlock the economic and environmental benefit potential of sustainable aquaculture and helping to meet the UK’s net-zero targets,” said Caroline Price, senior development manager habitat creation at The Crown Estate in a press release.

“The development of Aquaculture Enterprise Zones is an exciting opportunity to support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry and provide a platform for economic development in coastal communities,” added Rob Passmore, CEO of

The Project will bring together experts from CIEL, the University of Plymouth Marine Institute, the Biorenewables Development Centre and CEFAS. will coordinate inputs from the project partners in collaboration with The Crown Estate.

According to industry reports, the global seaweed market is projected to reach £19.8 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 12 percent during the forecast period. The European seaweed market alone is forecast up to £8.22 billion by 2030, and the UK has an opportunity to gain a strong share of the market for seaweed and other sustainable marine crops.

Bivalves, a crucial crop in AEZs, offer a sustainable and environmentally friendly source of protein with a low carbon footprint. In addition, they filter and clean the water in which they are grown, leading to significant environmental benefits. Market research forecasts the European bivalve market to grow at a CAGR of 5.5 percent through 2030, while the UK market alone is projected to reach a value of £140 million by 2025.