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Maritime Forum

Licensing Toolkit - France


Avg. duration: >8 months Validity: licence dependent Legal cost: variable Authority in charge: DDTM


Process Phase Duration Overview of tasks
Preparation >3 months Obtaining the required qualifications to be able to apply for a licence, including experience and education
Project definition including a detailed description of your future farm, location and interaction with other marine users
Process phase Duration Key tasks Challanges
Obtaining the required qualifications Highly variable (depending on your current qualifications)
  • To be able to apply for a seaweed farming licence, an applicant needs to demonstrate one of the following qualifications/experiences:
    • Technical diploma or vocational diploma in mariculture or equivalent
    • A diploma at the standard of the technical or vocational diploma/certification and at least 280 hours in mariculture training courses
  • Is the applicant is born before 1990, the following qualifications are also acceptable:
    • Professional state patent in mariculture (Brevet d’Etat professionnel (BEP) « cultures marines »)
    • Professional agricultural and maritime certificate, with the “marine production” option (Brevet professionnel agricole et maritime (BPAM) option « productions aquacoles »)
    • Certificate of professional competence (Certificat d’aptitude professionnelle) in marine shellfish farming, with three or more years of professional experience in addition to 280 hours of accredited training courses in marine production
  • In addition to meet the qualifications enabling a prospective farmer to submit their application, it should be noted that you also need to ensure that you have the proper certification to commercially operate the boat(s) you will need for your operation.
Project definition 3 - 9 weeks
  • Future farmers will need to define their farming operation and its interaction with other marine users. Within this application future farmers will be asked to document:
    • Selection of cultivated species
    • Selection of farming technique and gear used technique
    • Selection of farming site, with a description of the place, farm dimensions (including a sketch of the farm)
    • Adjacent Marine Protected Areas and special use zones
    • Other marine users like fishers, shellfish farmers, boating associations, commercial marine transport routes, etc.
    • The application including the above details has to be submitted to the local DDTM, who will check the application internally, and with the relevant administrative bodies
  • Make an appointment with your respective DDTM to submit your application – which is not necessarily a challenge and can rather be helpful with defining your project. Within this meeting, the representative will discuss your proposal and potentially even show you currently available concessions.
  • Contact the local fishing council and the respective CRC to assist you with finding a future farm location that would reduce the likelihood of conflicts with fishers and shellfish farmers, and help you understand potential requirements if you are located in a special use area (e.g. Natura 2000 site).
  • Explore if there are any unused existing concessions which you could take over / lease. This could considerably shorten your submission requirements.
  • Already engage other marine users and their associated (business) organizations, for example local fishers association. You will eventually need to talk to them in the public consultation phase, so engaging early on with them can be key in ensuring a smooth license application. Additionally, engaging them already in the project definition phase will allow you to better understand their ocean use and potential issues with the new farm, allowing you to design your farm/fam location to avoid potential future conflicts.
Process Phase Duration Overview of tasks
Public consultation & licence draft 3-6 months Application validation by the respective public authorities
Advertisement and public consultation within the local community of the farm
Remediation / address feedback by the Commission of Marine Cultures
Licence draft including conditions by the Commission of Marine Cultures
Process phase Duration Key tasks Challanges
Application validation 2 months
  • Once submitted, the licence application will be tested by the respective administration. Within this administrative testing phase, the applications will be reviewed by multiple governmental agencies with potential interest in your future farm.
Advertisement and public consultation 30 days (simultaneously to application validation)
  • While the application is validated by the official parties, future farmers will need to publish an announcement within the community where the farm is located and the surrounding communities. This announcement should be publicised for 15 days, and allow for a further 15 day feedback period.
  • The request to obtain a licence concession will be publicly posted, and other people can theoretically submit competing requests for the same farming concession within 25 days of your public consultation. In the case in which a competing application is made, the relevant governmental department is will provide criteria for the prioritization of the competing requests.
Remediation / address feedback Highly variable depending on Comission meeting dates
  • After the initial administrative review, the application will be submitted to the “Commission of Marine Cultures” to be evaluated. Seaweed farming will fall under mixed or joint farming operations.
  • This committee will make the decision of the licence requests, which is either favourable without any requests to change the project, unfavourable as the proposal currently stands or adjournment of the decision with the request for clarifications to be submitted for the next committee meeting.
  • Seaweed farming applicants are strongly encouraged to attend/be in contact with the evaluating committee to present their project and immediately answer any questions from the committee members.
  • The Comission of Marine Cultures only meets during certain times in a year. This means that an adjournment of the decision can mean the delay of numerous months of the approval being submitted.
Licence draft including conditions
  • Ideally, a favourable decision by the administrative body is received, which will need to be signed by you within two months of notification.
  • If no feedback on your licence application is received within 6 months, the licence is considered rejected.
  • If you receive a favourable notification of the licence application, and your licence is granted, but you fail to sign the licence within two months, the licence to your concession will be revoked.
Process Phase Duration Overview of tasks
Installation Pre-installation preparations including obtaining the relevant food regulations
Installation of your farm within the parameters of your granted licence
Process phase Duration Key tasks Challanges
Pre-installation >1 months
  • You are required to install your seaweed farm within the parameters given in the licence.
  • Obtain the required Sanitary approval if you are planning to produce your seaweed for food consumption. You will require to receive this approval before you start selling your seaweed. The approval application will need to be submitted to the DDPP (direction départementale de la protection des populations; Formulaire CERFA n° 13983*03 de demande d’agrément pour un établissement mettant sur le marché des produits d’origine animale ou des denrées contenant des produits d’origine animale)
  • Since the seaweed farming licence is tied to a person, you are required to ensure the operation of the farm. If you are unable to operate the seaweed farm, you might be able to have the licence be operated by a third party for a maximum of 3 years.
  • Ensure to apply early on for your Sanitary approval licences to avoid having delays in being able to sell your seaweed once farmed.
  • Check with your local authority if you require any additional licences depending on the end market that you are selling your seaweed to.
  • Install your seaweed farm.
  • Make sure you install the seaweed farm in accordance with the licence provided to you.

Key resources

Contact us to be featured as a key resource If you would like to be featured here as a resource to help future seaweed farmers navigate the licensing process, please contact contactateu4algae [dot] eu (contact[at]eu4algae[dot]eu)

Your fellow farmers

Algolesko, Brittany

Algolesko is a French seaweed company farming Saccharina latissima on their 150 hectares, Natura 2000 classified lease off the coast of Lesconil, Brittany.

Founded in 2013, Algolesko has now grown to 11 employees managing everything from producing seed to growing and processing seaweed.

In its nursery, Algolesko produces the seaweed seed which is then transferred to its outgrowing lines that reach up to 2km into the sea. After harvest, Algolesko sells its seaweed fresh, salted, dried, frozen and processed into flours and serums to various sectors: Food industry, Cosmetics, Pharmaceutics amongst others. Algolesko aims to bring a premium seaweed offer to the market.

“Our passion translates in our end product, which the market is more and more eager to discover” – Timothée Serraz

Contact us to be featured as a fellow farmer

Are you a French seaweed farmer, or in the last strives of establishing your seaweed farm? If so, we would be interested in featuring you here as an inspiring example for future seaweed farmers. If you would like to be showcased, please contact us at: contactateu4algae [dot] eu (contact[at]eu4algae[dot]eu)