In the initial years, we channelled our resources into bringing each farm up to the same high standards as our other farms: infrastructure, equipment, staffing, health and safety, training and development. That done, we then added to these existing five farms with new farms at Westerbister, Wyre, Eday, Lober Rock and Hunda, bringing our estate of active Orkney farms to nine-strong.

Our ambition throughout? To grow a quality of salmon befitting of the region’s reputation for premium food and drink, while also contributing to the economy, creating additional jobs and benefiting the local and wider supply chain.

Find out more below:

Our existing Bring Head farm consists of 10x80m circumference salmon pens, contained within a 50m mooring grid.

There’s also a 50-tonne capacity feed barge which stores fish feed, feeding equipment and an incinerator, along with office and welfare facilities for the farm team.

However, detailed modelling has since shown that the environment has the capacity to sustainably support a larger farm capable of growing more fish and, in turn, providing more tasty, nutritious meals. To accommodate this, we would need to reconfigure and expand the farm infrastructure to 12x120m salmon pens within a 70m mooring grid with a new 420-tonne capacity feed barge.

This equates to an increase in pen area of 8,795m2 and would enable our Bring Head farm team to grow more salmon up to a maximum biomass (the maximum weight of fish that can be stocked across the whole farm at any one time) of 2,500 tonnes.

You can download a copy of our Bring Head farm expansion overview below.

Prior to submitting a proposal to expand any existing salmon farm, we prepare a full and detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

This considers and assesses a wide range of potential which considers and assesses the environmental and socio-economic effects of the expansion: from water quality, seabed, predators, protected species and habitats, and wild fish and fisheries, to landscape and visual amenity, recreation, noise and navigational hazards. The findings from which are then detailed in the report.

You can download a copy of the EIA report summary below or view it via the Orkney Islands Council Planning Portal (Planning reference 21/411/MAR).

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process which identifies the environmental effects (both negative and positive) of development proposals, and aims to avoid, reduce and offset any adverse impacts.

  • Whether or not an EIA is necessary rests with the relevant planning authority and is determined via a process known as ‘EIA screening’. In this instance, Orkney Islands Council determined that an EIA would be required
  • The EIA process itself involves assessing any potentially significant environmental impacts or effects identified at the screening and scoping stage by key stakeholders such as NatureScot, SEPA and Marine Scotland
  • The anticipated effects of any impacts are then described within the EIA report, along with any monitoring or mitigation required.

More information on the EIA process is available on the Scottish Government website.

Once our applications for Planning Permission, a Marine Licence and SEPA CAR Licence have been submitted, there will be an opportunity to review and comment on the application to the relevant regulator once advertised.


  • Our Bring Head farm has operated within the Hoy and West Mainland National Scenic Area since 2001
  • A Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment has concluded that additional landscape and visual effects from the proposed expansion, compared to the existing farm, are expected to be minimal and that there would be no significant effect on the special qualities of the National Scenic Area.


  • The farm team has achieved an average fish survival rate of 85%+ over the last three crops (circa six years)
  • Bring Head has required zero medicinal bath treatments to date
  • Pens are equipped with SealPro anti predator netting to help keep salmon safety separate from seals
  • Acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) are not permitted within Scapa Flow and therefore have never been used at the farm

Whilst seabed issues have resulted in Bring Head having a variable SEPA CAS rating, it’s anticipated that the proposed reconfiguration of the farm into deeper, more dispersive waters will help address this

Orkney is home to a thriving farming sector – salmon farming included. One of two salmon growers on the islands, our farms create direct jobs, support additional livelihoods across the supply chain and, in doing so, help boost local income. 

In 2020 alone, Scottish Sea Farms’ activities across the Orkney islands added up to:

  • 68 direct jobs
  • £2.3M salary costs paid
  • £34.2K average earnings including overtime and bonus payments
  • 10 Modern Apprentices being undertaken
  • £1.7M spent procuring goods and services from 70 local suppliers
  • £318K given to good causes since 2011

Over 100 local good causes supported.

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’ Environment team directly at

(Please note that any comments provided to us online or via email won’t be considered by Orkney Islands Council unless you also submit those comments directly to them.)