Our strategy? Streamline four existing farming licences (Brei Geo Inshore, Brei Geo Offshore, Sandsound Voe and Sandsound Bitter) into one location – Billy Baa – which extensive hydrodynamic modelling has identified as having optimal conditions for growing salmon.

This will enable us to:

  • Increase the space between pens
  • Maximise water exchange and oxygen levels in and around pens
  • Improve operational efficiencies
  • Boost fish health, welfare and survival
  • Grow our harvest volumes.

Find out more

Interested in finding out more about our proposals but weren’t able to make it along to our community consultation event on Tuesday 19 September 2023 at Whiteness & Weisdale Public Hall? You can read a summary of the proposed changes in the sub-sections below.

Have a question not answered here? Simply email development@scottishseafarms.com and one of the team will be in touch.

Application status

Our application has now been granted planning approval by Shetland Islands Council.

The next stage is to secure a SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) CAR licence. If awarded, this will set the permitted levels of fish volumes and veterinary medicines to help minimise any environmental impact from the farm.

Our vision for Billy Baa is to have 9 x 160m salmon pens and 1 x 120m pen, secured by a 125m mooring grid and with a surface area of 19,480m2.

Each pen would be stocked to RSPCA Assured densities of just 1.5% fish to 98.5% water, with a combined maximum permitted biomass of 4,091 tonnes.

To help keep these fish safely separate from other marine life, pens would be equipped with predator defence netting systems and pole-mounted top nets.

Adjacent to the pens would be a 500-tonne capacity feed barge. This would house the farm’s camera-monitored feeding system, office and welfare facilities for the team, and a store for fish feed.

The proposed development will be equipped with the latest farm infrastructure:

Indicative pen and top net arrangement
Indicative top net detail

The new barge will be similarly modern, featuring a boat-like design to help it blend into the local seascape.

Indicative feed barge

Shore base

In addition to the barge, Billy Baa will also be supported by our existing shore base at South Whiteness, from where the team will travel to and from farm.

Vessel transit route

Our first step, when seeking to establish any potential visual impacts of a proposed development, is to carry out a Zone of Theoretical Visibility exercise (or ZTV for short).

This is a computer-generated image that identifies the theoretical extent of the visibility of a development and can be compared with a 3D terrain model.

In the case of our Billy Baa proposal, the following key viewpoints within a 7km vicinity were included:

  1. Sandsound (435725, 1148310)
  2. War Memorial (438901, 1148510)
  3. Carpark/viewpoint (440294, 1146201)
  4. Hill of Berry (439678, 1140014)
  5. Hill of Olligarth (438618, 1147201)
  6. Greenvale/Reawick (432152, 1144006)

Next steps

Our next step was to carefully analyse, via a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment, any potential effects of the farm against the qualities of the West Coast Mainland National Scenic Area, Local Landscape Areas, Coastal Character types and key viewpoints.

That done, we generated computer-aided visualisations of the proposed development from each viewpoint, helping inform an assessment of any potential impact on the surrounding seascape and landscape.

This assessment was then shared within the formal planning application, available to view by clicking here.

Salmon farming is a key employer in the local area and the proposed development of Billy Baa will add to that, creating a minimum of six new jobs.

Costing upwards of £4M, the installation and ongoing maintenance of the farm will also support jobs across the supply chain: from engineering, haulage, and diver and vessel hire to the manufacture of equipment and feed, and local travel and accommodation.

Direct and indirect jobs combined, this will create additional onward spend for businesses and services in the surrounding area.

Regional contribution

National benefits and beyond

Scottish farmed salmon is consistently one of the most valuable food exports, both in Scotland and in the UK.

Proposed farm developments such as this, aimed at enhancing fish health, welfare and survival, will further add to the volumes available for sale, helping to better meet the needs of a growing population.

If you have a question related to our development proposals that’s not addressed here, you can use the ‘Find out more’ page.

Alternatively, you can email Scottish Sea Farms’ Developments team directly at development@scottishseafarms.com