Assessing Welsh aquaculture activities

About the project

The assessing Welsh aquaculture activities (AWAA) project has been designed to support the sustainable development and sustainable management of aquaculture resources in Wales.

The project will assess and map the sensitivity of marine habitats and species to the impacts from a variety of aquaculture activities, indicating the most environmentally sustainable opportunities for aquaculture development and conversely indicating areas of potential constraint.

The project will support marine planning in Wales by providing a set of common, transparent, evidence-based resources for developers, regulators and advisors.

Project resources

  • An evidence database on the impacts of aquaculture activities;
  • An interactions spreadsheet showing the sensitivity of habitats and species to various aquaculture activities;
  • Evidence-based aquaculture activity assessments; and
  • Sensitivity maps of habitat biotopes and species to aquaculture activities.

Project funding

The project is supported by the EU through Welsh Ministers and is fully funded by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.

Geographic scope of project

The geographic scope of the AWAA project is the ‘Welsh Zone’, defined as that part of the sea within British fishery limits adjacent to Wales.

Figure 1: Geographic scope of the AWAA project

Habitats and species considered in project

The project will include intertidal and subtidal seabed habitats known to be present in Welsh waters. Coastal habitats and their component species will not be considered in the project.

Some habitats and species may be scoped out of the project if aquaculture activities in Wales are considered unlikely to interact with these features now and in the future.

The marine habitats and species considered by the project will include those referred to under various legislation such as

  • The Habitats Directive
  • The Birds Directive
  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009
  • The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • The Environment (Wales) Act 2016

Project delivery

The project will be delivered by ABPmer Ltd. on behalf of NRW. The project started in December 2021 and will complete all tasks by June 2023. The approach to the delivery of these interlinked tasks, along with the associated work programme, is outlined in this inception report.

Project tasks


Date (month end)

Inception report

January 2022

Evidence database and sensitivity scoring complete

July 2022

Agreed assessment proforma and interactions spreadsheet completed

September 2022

Aquaculture activity assessments completed

February 2023

Sensitivity maps completed

April 2023

Final report published

June 2023

Project inception report

The project inception report presents information on the scope and objectives of the assessing Welsh aquaculture activities project. The report provides a high level description of the approach for each of the tasks and how the deliverables will be produced. Key assumptions are provided where appropriate.

Assessing Welsh aquaculture activities inception report

Regular project updates

Written project updates will be produced every two months beginning February 2022 and continue throughout the project until completion. These updates will be disseminated by email to a stakeholder group. If you would like to receive the written updates please contact

Final project report and user guidance

A final project report will summarise the outputs of the project and will provide guidance for the application of the resources produced. The report will clearly highlight that the generic outputs are a starting point for aquaculture farmers, regulators and advisors to consider their specific proposals. Any evidence gaps, limitations, assumptions, generalisations, and lessons learnt will also be highlighted.

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