Offshore Multi-Use Setting: introducing integrative assessment modelling to alleviate uncertainty of developing Seaweed Aquaculture inside Wind Farms


The offshore multi-use setting is a concept that reduces spatial competition in the marine economy. Seaweed Aquaculture inside Wind Farms has been suggested as a multi-use setting design, however, the uncertainty surrounding impacts associated with multi-use setting activities is a key barrier to the development of the concept. To begin alleviating uncertainty on the Seaweed Aquaculture-Wind Farm system, a systematic literature review was performed to identify the potential negative consequences of developing seaweed aquaculture inside of Wind Farms. Findings suggest negative consequences may result across multiple objectives. The study findings were used to construct cognitive models that are necessary to facilitate further integrative assessment modelling on social and ecological impacts of integrating seaweed aquaculture and wind farms. The interdisciplinary frameworks and research strategy proposed by this study is the first attempt to formalise holistic sustainability assessment and novel management of an emerging bioeconomic innovation being pursued in Europe.

March 2022
Application in MSP: 
Taken into account in an MSP process
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Economic aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Renewable Energy Directive

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • What are the potential negative consequences of developing seaweed aquaculture within Wind Farms?
  • How can this hamper the promotion of multi-use?

Implementation Context:

Blue Economy; and consequently, the use of marine resources; is predicted to grow twice as fast by 2030, which increases competition for marine resources and maritime space. In that context, multi-use is a concept which promotes the co-location of industrial activities. As Wind Farms are fixed structures, they can exclude other marine stakeholders such as large fisheries and shipping companies. Including seaweed farms within Wind Farms can alleviate the spatial pressure and consequently provide more space for other users. However, limits to this concept exist and hampers multi-use development.

Aspects / Objectives:

This study reviews the potential negative consequences of developing seaweed aquaculture within Wind Farms. Findings were used to facilitate further integrative assessment modelling on the social and ecological impacts of integrating seaweed aquaculture and Wind Farms.


A systematic review of scientific literature was applied around the topic "Potential adverse consequences to environmental and social dimensions caused by development of seaweed aquaculture within Wind Farms" focusing on North-West Europe: United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Republic of Ireland, including studies on coastal and offshore seaweed aquaculture.

Main Outputs / Results:

Trade off analyses will be required to determine optimal conditions and scales to design the multi-use set-up between seaweed farms and Wind Farms due to potential environmental and socio-economic impacts. The study proposes an holistic approach considering the three pillars of sustainability to maximise the success of seaweed farms and Wind Farm’s co-location.


The detailed impacts of the study and the proposed approach can be transferred to other sea basins or for other co-locating maritime activities.

Responsible Entity:

Imperial College London

Costs / Funding Source:

Economic and Social Research Council as part of the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership

Contact person: - Imperial College London