Seaweed Harvesting Code of Conduct

Seaweed Harvesting Code of Conduct
Natural England has worked closely with the Crown Estate, Cornwall
and Devon Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs),
National Trust and Cornwall Wildlife Trust to produce a code of conduct
for seaweed harvesting. We advise that anyone harvesting seaweed in
England should adhere to this code, whether harvesting is for
commercial purposes or not. The code of conduct is available as a
separate document.
1 Always consult Natural England and your local Inshore Fisheries and
Conservation Authority (IFCA) before harvesting seaweed and obtain
permission from the landowner.
2 Harvest seaweed only by hand – mechanical methods should not be used.
3 Do not use vehicles on the foreshore.
4 Avoid disturbing wildlife such as seabirds and seals by keeping an appropriate
distance away.
5 Avoid or minimise trampling on non-target organisms and avoid taking ‘bycatch’
such as stalked jellyfish, brittlestars, bryozoans and blue-rayed limpets.
6 Collect less than one third of an individual plant to allow for regrowth.
7 Cut fronds (leaves) well above the point of growth (e.g. the meristem for kelps)
and always leave the holdfast attached.
8 Harvest sparsely, taking only a small percentage of standing stock.*
9 Rotate harvesting areas to allow ample time for recovery. Harvested areas
should be left for up to several years, depending on the species, before
harvesting again.*
10 Harvest seaweeds during the active growth season to allow for quicker
11 Harvest seaweeds after reproduction has occurred if possible and ensure a
substantial proportion of mature plants remain.*
12 Take extra care when harvesting invasive non-native seaweeds to ensure that
seaweeds or spores are not transferred to other areas. Follow ‘Check, Clean,
Dry’ biosecurity principles, checking, cleaning and drying all equipment and
clothing when moving between sites to ensure that invasive species, pests and
diseases are not spread to new areas. **
13 Do not collect drift seaweed from the entire length of strandlines – harvest
sparsely as this constitutes an important habitat.
14 Keep records of volumes of each species of seaweed harvested, along with
date and location.
15 Limit harvesting in erosion prone coastal areas (i.e. dunes) where kelp forests
dissipate wave energy.
16 Please be aware that foreshores can be hazardous. Do not put yourself at risk
of injury by collecting seaweed in adverse conditions and be aware of tides.
*Consult Natural England for further information/ advice
** For information on how to identify non-native seaweeds, please see the GBNNSS website: