Social licence is rooted in perceptions of local rights holders and stakeholders. The disease focus of aquaculture health policy, practices, and research insufficiently reflects societal expectations for aquafarms to protect health of shared resources. Our case study of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar
) farming in British Columbia (BC), Canada, assessed the readiness of aquaculture to change from managing health as the absence of disease to a perspective of health as well-being to maintain social licence. We drafted an index of well-being based on agroecosystem health and socio-ecological health principles. We then reviewed publicly available industry and government information and undertook key informant interviews. The industry was well situated to develop and use a well-being index. Interviewees saw value in a well-being index and found it compatible with area-based management. Many elements of the index were being collected but there would be challenges to overcoming feelings of over-regulation; negotiating specific indicators for local situations; and securing the necessary expertise to integrate and assess the diversity of information. Health conflicts and disagreements facing salmon farming in BC are like those in other aquaculture sectors. Social licence may be improved if companies transparently report their state of the health by adapting this conceptual framework.
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