The £3 million farm, which is the culmination of several years of research and planning into identifying the best farming locations in Orkney waters, will be sited off Lober Rock close to St Margaret’s Hope in Scapa Flow.
Consisting of 12 x 80m pens and a 200-tonne barge, it will be managed by a six-strong farm team and is expected to be stocked in 2019.
Richard Darbyshire, Scottish Sea Farm's regional production manager for Orkney, says: “This latest consent is hugely positive news. For the remote communities in which we live and work, the new farm will bring skilled jobs and training, additional business for local suppliers, and a boost to local economies in terms of increased disposable income.
“From a company perspective, the new farm will help us in our drive to meet demand for responsibly farmed salmon; demand that’s rising rapidly not only here in the UK but internationally as the global population continues to grow – and with it, the need for sustainable protein sources.”
The new farm will mean that SSF will have eight farms in the archipelago – five were acquired from Orkney Sea Farms in 2007, followed by the addition of the award-winning 1,909 tonne Wyre farm in 2015 and, most recently, a new 1,791 tonne farm at Westerbister in 2016.
The islands’ local geography has helped deliver strong results.
“Orkney’s fast-flowing tidal currents make for a very firm, lean salmon with little fat and lots of flavour, while the lack of wild salmon rivers means that sea lice isn’t an issue. Testament to this, we haven’t administered one treatment for Lepeophtheirus salmonis in 10 years of farming in Orkney waters,” says Darbyshire.
The additional site means that SSF will have the capacity to grow over 10,000 tonnes of salmon (live weight) annually for customers in the UK and for export to over 18 different countries around the world.