Lober Rock, at the south-easterly corner of Scapa Flow, underwent a series of audits to meet the stringent ASC criteria, joining Summer Isles, which was ASC approved earlier in the year.

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

‘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,’ he said. ‘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.

The ASC also insists that its standards are met by a farm’s suppliers, from feed to nets, and from boats to divers.

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 said the prospect of becoming the first Orkney salmon farm to gain ASC accreditation appealed to his team.

‘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.’

Coetzer said the prized ASC standard is a recognition not just of environmental sustainability, but the sustainability of Scottish Sea Farms’ whole farming operation.

‘We need everybody to buy into what we’re trying to achieve as a company and as a farm, which is doing our best for the livestock. If you look at the standards in the ASC, that is what they are trying to achieve too.

‘I think it’s important that our farms put in the extra work to uphold and adhere to the standard because ASC is helping us as a sector, not just as a business, in improving our standards and our working behaviours.’