Irish seaweed permits and access

  • Collection permits and access

    In the Republic of Ireland a licence is required from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine for the collection or removal of seaweed for anything other than small amounts for personal use. The relevant page on the departmental site is not clear in respect of seaweed and speaks only of "sea-fish" but Werner & Kraan (2004) spell out the actual situation:

    "The legislation for seaweed harvesting is based on the Foreshore Acts 1933 - 1998. It is stated that the foreshore is State owned. The foreshore comprises the seabed and shore below the line of high water at medium tide and extends outwards to the limit of twelve nautical miles. Under Section 3(1) the Minister for Communications, the Marine and Natural Resources (DCMNR) [now the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine] is empowered to grant licences for the removal of seaweeds, whether growing or rooted on the seabed (out to 12 miles), or deposited or washed upon the beach."

    In the Republic, the foreshore (from high water out to 12 miles) belongs to the State and it and the EU have certain rights to regulate access and use, particularly in certain areas. In the North of Ireland the foreshore belongs to the Crown Estate but may be leased to other bodies. Similar regulations apply.

    A notable exception is where inherited rights to seaweed collection exist (often called "folio" rights: akin to "turbary" rights, although this word specifically applies to turf), which are rights to collect, harvest and remove seaweed inherited as part of an individual's estate.

    In both juristictions access to the foreshore may be restricted by the adjacent landowners and permission may be required for access.

    Contacts for further information or clarification

  • Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Seaweed Farming, Seaweed Cultivation and Commercial Development). BIM is the Irish state agency with primary responsibility for developing the seaweed, seafish and aquaculture industries in Ireland. BIM site with contacts.

    Aquaculture Licence Enquiries

    References and documents