Green light for Scottish Sea Farms’ Shetland plan

Scottish Sea Farms' planned development at Billy Baa, Shetland

Shetland Islands Council has given its approval to Scottish Sea Farms’ proposed offshore salmon farm at Billy Baa.

The move is part of a strategy of modernising and consolidating the company’s estate in Shetland into fewer but larger farms.

Four existing consents to farm in the more sheltered, shallower waters of Sandsound Voe – Brei Geo Inshore (1,209 tonnes), Brei Geo Offshore (2,635 tonnes), Sandsound Voe (100 tonnes) and Sandsound Bixter (1,000 tonnes) – will be surrendered.

In their place will be one new farm, Billy Baa (4,091 tonnes), sited slightly further offshore where, the company says, hydrodynamic modelling found there to be even better growing conditions, but without any increase to overall environmental load.

The proposed farm comprises nine 160 metre salmon pens and one 120 metre pen, secured by a 125 metre mooring grid and with a surface area of 19,480m2.

Scottish Sea Farms salmon net-pen

Commenting on the news, Scottish Sea Farms’ Head of Sustainability and Development Anne Anderson said: “By combining four smaller consents into one location, equipped with fewer but larger pens, we’re seeking to maximise water exchange and oxygen levels – two key factors supporting fish growth – in and around the farm.

“It will also be a more efficient approach to farming this stretch of Scalloway’s waters, enabling the team to concentrate their time, skill and resources in one location, further boosting fish health, welfare and survival.”

The next step for the company is to secure the SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) CAR licence which, if awarded, will set permitted levels on fish volumes and veterinary medicines.

“Our policy has always been to secure the relevant approvals and licences first, before ordering the farm infrastructure or assigning fish,” said Anderson. “We don’t assume anything; the planning and consenting process is there for a reason.

“Should we be successful, however, we would hope to be in a position to be stocking Billy Baa in 2026.”

As part of its rolling programme of farm modernisations and consolidations, Scottish Sea Farms has a second proposed development, Fish Holm in Yell Sound, under consideration by Shetland Islands Council.

This is one of two planning notifications (the other by fellow salmon grower MOWI in the Highlands and Islands region) that are helping to trial the new, streamlined licensing and consenting process for salmon farms introduced following the recommendations of the Griggs Report.

Under the new process, local authority planners and SEPA work together to review submissions in consultation with key stakeholders, rather than each body consider the applications separately as currently happens.

Scottish Sea Farms is jointly owned by two Norwegian salmon businesses, Lerøy and SalMar.

Anne Anderson, Head of Sustainability and Development, Scottish Sea Farms



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