Current project status

  • Site selection process
  • Pre-application discussions
  • Screening and scoping application
  • Planning application
  • Application determination

Cooke Scotland is proposing the development of a new Atlantic salmon farm to the north of the island of Vementry, in St. Magnus Bay, Shetland. As a pioneer in the development of offshore fish farms in Orkney, we are seeking to utilise this experience to develop a new farm in a more exposed location in Shetland. The proposed site is a high energy environment which will have optimal conditions for rearing strong and healthy fish whilst minimsing potential effects on the local environment. Comments on the proposal are now open to the local community prior to beginning the official planning and consenting process for the development. Send us your comments using the feedback form below. For an overview of how the planning process works, click here.

Application Stage: Pre-application discussions
Consultation Period: 24th October 2023 to 25th October 2023
Deadline for comments to be received: 30th November 2023

The proposed site at Vementry would consist of 12 x 120 m circumference salmon pens arranged in a group of 2 x 6 pens. There will also be a feed barge moored to the South of the pen group. The farm would be serviced on a daily basis from our existing shorebase at Aith. It is envisaged that the development would lead to the creation of five highly skilled full-time jobs in the local area.

Cooke Scotland is a leader in the development of offshore fish farms in Scotland. We have gained extensive knowledge through the successful development and operation of our pioneering farm at Skelwick Skerry in Orkney, which is one of the most exposed locations in Scotland. This farm seeks to utilise this knowledge to open up new farming opportunities in Shetland.  The high energy environment within Swarbacks Minn will create optimal growing conditions that promote excellent fish welfare whilst also minimising our interactions with the environment and potentially sensitive receptors in the wider area.

The planning process for any new fish farm will require an accompanying Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be conducted. The following considerations will be made in that assessment:

Benthic and Water Column Effects

Prior to finalising the project and applying for planning permission, we will conduct extensive baseline surveys of the area surrounding the new site. These surveys include seabed sampling and an ROV survey to map seabed habitats within the extended vicinity of the proposed farm.

Any potential effects of aquaculture on the benthic environment and water column are regulated by SEPA under Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) and by Marine Scotland. The proposed development of Vementry will require a CAR Licence from SEPA to regulate the maximum weight of fish to be held on site, the scale and rate of nutrient and chemical discharges from the site, and establish statutory monitoring protocols.

Protected Species and Habitats

The Vementry site is located within the potential influence of Papa Stour Special Protected Area (SPA) designated for important breeding colonies of sea birds. This will be assessed in the comprehensive EIA proposed to ensure that all potential effects are accounted for.

There are two designated seal haul-out sites within the vicinity of the proposed development. Tensioned cage nets provide the first line of defence against seal attacks. Pen nets are constructed with twine which is strengthened with marine grade stainless steel. These have been proven effective at reducing seal interactions at sites and will be used at the new Vementry site.

The use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) within the Scottish aquaculture industry is strictly controlled by the Marine Directorate – Licencing Operations Team (MD-LOT). A European Protected Species (EPS) Licence is required before any ADD system can be deployed and permission to use ADDs is also required from the planning authority and NatureScot.

Visual Amenity and Noise

Effects on landscape and visual amenity are regulated by Shetland Islands Council as the planning authority, and NatureScot. A Seascape, Landscape, and Visual Amenity Assessment (SLVIA) will be conducted to assess any change in visual amenity from the development. The effect of noise on the nearest landfall from the development during construction and operation will also be assessed.


Cooke Scotland recognises the importance of responsible operations across the business. By setting the foundations of sustainability in our core values, we build up a robust culture of commitment to our common goal of a sustainable business.

Aquaculture stands out as one of the most sustainable sources of protein production, boasting notably low greenhouse gas emissions and water usage while achieving one of the highest yields of edible protein per unit of resource input. The carbon footprint on salmon is twelve times lower than that of beef and fivre times lower than that of chicken. The Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in 2022 that salmon aquaculture was the fourth most efficient method of intensively producing protein in the world.

We are proud to be one of the most sustainable protein production methods and aim to produce more food for the planet into the future, this development helps us grow.

Cooke Scotland invests into the local economy by investing in our farms and other facilities and spending with local suppliers.

Cooke is one of the largest employers in Shetland and sustainable growth of the business enables us to create new jobs and secure the jobs of existing facilities. We plan to not only invest in our people and development but also the local communities we support. Since 2017 we have spent £260,000 in local communities in Shetland through our Community Benefit Fund and with new developments we plan to invest in the local communities we work within.

Event 1

Date: 24 October 2023

Time: 2-4pm and 6-8pm

Location: Muckle Roe Hall, Muckle Roe

Event 2

Date: 25 October 2023

Time: 2-4pm and 6-8pm

Location: Eid Hall, Aith

If you have any questions about the proposed project that have not been answered here or in our FAQ page, you can contact us at and we will endeavour to answer your query as soon as we can.

Please note this is for queries only. Any comments you would like to be considered should be submitted using the feedback form below.

Project Feedback Form
Please use the box below to send us your comments on the proposed project. This is your chance to provide feedback at the pre-application stage. All comments we receive will be used to inform the future progression of the proposed development. It should be noted that any feedback at this stage is for Cooke Scotland only.
  1. Do you have any comments on the location or scale of the project?
  2. Do you have any local knowledge of environmental factors we should be considering?
  3. Any other comments
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.