Module 4: Seaweeds and Society


  • Suzi Billing, SAMS (UK).
  • Paul Tett, SAMS (UK).
  • Julie Rosten, SAMS (UK).
  • Rosa Melo, CIIMAR (Portugal).

Module description:

This module introduces the social theory of aquaculture-society relationships and the practice of gaining social license to operate (SLO) with some practical examples from GENIALG.

Expected learning outcomes:

Define social license to operate and understand its relevance to seaweed aquaculture in Europe.

Lesson 1: Social Listening at seaweed farming 


Module 4 Lesson 1 – Social licensing at seaweed farming

Associated Reading:

Mateo, J.P., Campbell, I., Cottier-Cook, E.J., Luhan, M.R.J., Ferriols, V.M.E.N., Hurtado, A.Q. (2021). Understanding biosecurity: knowledge, attitudes and practices of seaweed farmers in the Philippines. Journal of Applied Phycology. DOI:

Suyo, J.G.B., Le Masson, V., Shaxson, L., Luhan, M.R.J., Hurtado, A.Q. (2021). Navigating risks and uncertainties: Risk perceptions and risk management strategies in the Philippine seaweed industry. Marine Policy, 126. DOI:

Rebours, C., Marinho-Soriano, E., Zertuche-González, J.A. et al. (2014). Seaweeds: an opportunity for wealth and sustainable livelihood for coastal communities. Journal of Applied Phycology 26, 1939–1951. DOI:

Hussin, H. & Khoso, A. (2017). Seaweed cultivation and coastal communities in Malaysia: An overview. Asian Fisheries Science30, 87-100.

Seaweed Cultivation in Scotland: A guide for community participation in seaweed farm applications funded by the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT):

Social licence key to EU aquaculture growth:

Billing, S.-L., Rostan, J., Tett, P., & Macleod, A. (2021). Is social license to operate relevant for seaweed cultivation in Europe? Aquaculture, 534, 736203. DOI: 

Msuya, Flower. (2006). The Impact of Seaweed Farming on the Social and Economic Structure of Seaweed Farming Communities in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In A.T. Critchley, M. Ohno & D.B. Largo, eds. World seaweed resources: an authoritative reference system. Amsterdam, ETI BioInformatics.

van den Burg, S., Dagevos, H. and Helmes, R. (2019). Towards sustainable European seaweed value chains: a triple P perspective. ICES Journal of Marine Science fsz183. DOI:

ICES (2020). Working Group on Social and Economic Dimensions of Aquaculture (WGSEDA).

ICES Scientific Reports. 2:78. 11 pp.

Krause, G., Billing, S.L., Dennis, J., Grant, J., Fanning, L., Filgueira, R., Miller, M., Pérez Agúndez,

J.A., Stybel, N., Stead, S.M., Wawrzynski, W. (2020). Visualizing the social in aquaculture: How social dimension components illustrate the effects of aquaculture across geographic scales. Marine Policy, 118. DOI:

Mikkelsen, E., Fanning, L., Kreiss, C.M., Billing, S.-L., John, D., Filgueira, R., Grant, J., Krause,

G., Lipton, D., Miller, M., Perez, J., Stead, S., Villasante, S. (2020). Availability and usefulness of economic data on the effects of aquaculture: A North Atlantic comparative assessment. Aquaculture Reviews. DOI:

Additional resources:

Tanzanian Fishing Villages Turn to Seaweed to Grow Incomes:

Sowing in the Seas: Aquaculture for Coastal Restoration in Belize: 

GENIALG Final Conference, Seaweed for the Future: Scaling-up the European Sector. Session 3: Socio-environmental Benefits of Seaweed Farming: Social Licensing at Seaweed Farm Sites by Suzi Billing, Scottish Association of Marine Science, UK.

Recording link:

Presentation link:

Seaweed Aquaculture | Dr. Carly Daniels & Dr. Katie Orchel

Social licence for aquaculture by Dr Suzannah-Lynn Billing (Aquaculture Research Collaborative Hub UK) presentation:

Seaweed Farming Feasibility Study for Argyll & Bute a report by SRSL for Argyll & Bute Council:

PDF of the Handbook on Social License to Operate with more details of the studies on social license that conducted in GENIALG.

Handbook on Social License to Operate for Seaweed Cultivationv4(2)

AquaSpace project:

BlueGrowth Farm project:

SeaPoWer project:

TRAHESA project:

Self Assessment Quiz

GENIALG Module 4