Orkney farm wins ASC accreditation

Scottish Sea Farms Lober Rock team with our Aquaculture Technical Lead for ASC certification Anna Price

Scottish Sea Farms’ Lober Rock site in Orkney has been awarded Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification. It is the first of the company’s sites to win ASC status.

Lober Rock, a marine salmon farm at the south-easterly corner of Scapa Flow, underwent a series of audits to meet the ASC’s stringent criteria. Earlier this year Scottish Sea Farms’ Summer Isles site, on the west coast of Scotland, was awarded ASC certification.

Orkney Regional Manager Duane Coetzer said other farms in Orkney are now being considered for accreditation.

He added: “For Lober Rock to be the second farm to be ASC accredited, and do it quite flawlessly, is a fantastic achievement for the farm team. It also fuels appetite across the region to see more Orkney farms work towards, and achieve, certification.”

As part of the ASC certification process, farms are independently audited and assessed against seven core principles, covering regulatory compliance, fish health, responsible use of feed and medicines, environmental interactions, employee conditions and community engagement.

Certification also requires that the ASC’s standards are met by a farm’s suppliers, from feed to nets, and from boats to divers.

Scottish Sea Farms said Lober Rock, which became operational just three years ago, has had an excellent start, with 91% superior grade fish and a survival rate of 88% for its first generation.

Scottish Sea Farms Aquaculture Technical Lead for ASC, Anna Price, said: “Having produced a really strong first generation of fish, Lober Rock was an obvious contender to be put forward for ASC certification.

“The farm team are passionate about what they do, ambitious to do even better and understood from the word go that the certification process could only help push them on further.

“The aim is now to have at least another two farms in the region accredited within the next 12 months – along with our wider farming estate, because the more we go through the certification process, the more we learn and the greater the opportunities for real and positive change across the company.”

Lober Rock Farm Manager Andrew Park commented: “We had already put in a lot of hard work to get what is still a young farm running as we wanted. However, it was a daunting thought too.

“The audits were even more detailed than we’d anticipated but the team got stuck in and coped ably, successfully demonstrating that our processes and practices rank up there with salmon farming elite, not just in Scotland but internationally.

“Our priority now is to stay vigilant on the core task of keeping our fish in the best health while doing everything we can to protect the local environment in which we farm. Continue to achieve both of those and I’m confident we’ll maintain our ASC certified status for years to come.”

The ASC is currently on a drive to get more Scottish finfish farms accredited under its standards, which are among the most stringent worldwide.

Pictured are, from left to right: Lee Mainland, Jack Hutton, Greig Fogarty, Andrew Park, Andrew Coghill, Anna Price and Harvey Wooldrage.