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Developing Social License for Trout Aquaculture in the North Central Region


Project Summary

The lack of social license for aquaculture is widely cited as a major constraint to growth, as expressed through overly burdensome regulations, delays/denials of permits, and lawsuits by citizens groups. Literature on social license for aquaculture is primarily theoretical and lacks empirical evidence for strategies effective for developing social license. This project has potential to serve as a model beyond the North Central Region (NCR). The project team formed includes NCR aquaculture Extension specialists, economists well known to NCR aquaculture producers, and social license experts. The goal is to develop and test strategies designed to enhance social license for aquaculture in the NCR. Strategies developed will be tested in specific locations in at least two NCR states, with a third state funded by the Ohio Soybean Council. Pre- and post- surveys will measure change in social license before and after intervention. Deliverables from this project will include: 1) manual that describes strategies for developing social license; 2) fact sheet describing outcomes of strategies implemented; 3) presentations at national, regional, and state conferences; 4) webinar summarizing project outcomes and successful strategies; 5) Trout Talk article; 6) refereed journal article manuscript; 7) training workshop on social license; 8) final report; and 9) highlights summary.


1. To map social license in selected locations in Michigan and Wisconsin   and Ohio (through funding support from the Ohio Soybean Council).

2. To design and implement specific intervention strategies for each location.

3. To evaluate the degree of change in social license before and after intervention.

4. To disseminate project results to aquaculture producers, Extension  specialists, and the broader aquaculture producer and scientific community.

Project Outline


Termination Report  (Year 1, Award Number 2018-38500-28887)

Progress Report (Year 2, Award Number 2020-38500-32560)


Award Amount


Award Number

2018-38500-28887 year 1, 2020-38500-32560 year 2

Principal Investigator

Chairperson: Jonathan van Senten, Virginia Tech Co-Investigators: Carole Engle, Engle-Stone Aquatic$ LLC & Virginia Tech Matt