Our Salmon is produced in accordance with exceptional farming practices making Cooke Aquaculture Scotland a leading sustainability-driven company.
Integrating all steps of the salmon’s natural life cycle ensures traceability from the egg and that the highest food security standards are met.
After more than 30 years of successful salmon farming, the farming cycle is well established.
There are four stages:
The salmon farming cycle begins in the hatcheries where eggs are collected from selected mature female salmon, the Broodstock.
The eggs are fertilised with milt from male Broodstock fish and then kept in special incubators until they hatch. The eggs hatch to produce alevins, tiny fish with a yolk sac full of nutrition. As they grow, the alevins absorb the yolk sac’s nutrients. After several weeks, the yolk sac is absorbed and the tiny salmon, now known as fry, are large enough to feed themselves. The fry are transferred to new tanks where they are fed formulated feed that supplies all their nutritional needs
The broodstock produce the eggs which are hatched in our incubation units and are then on-grown to fry in our production sites.
During the “ongrowing” phase in seawater, the fish grow to several kilos.
They are provided with specially formulated feeds to provide all their nutritional requirements and to ensure the final salmon products are of excellent eating quality and nutritional value. The sequence from hatchery to harvest takes about two and a half years.
For ongrowing there are 36 operational sites:
The farming sites are located in remote and rugged places along the coastline; highly exposed to provide a strong tidal flow of water. This ensures the fish get plenty of exercise and that the water in the pen is constantly replenished.
Having multiple farming operations in three well separated regions provides flexibility in sourcing: maximise reliability of supply and minimise impact from environmental factors such as the weather.
The fry grow and develop in larger freshwater tanks or in cages in freshwater Lochs.
In around four months the fry have developed to become parr and can be recognised by the vertical stripes on their bodies. They continue to be fed a complete diet formulated specifically for fry and parr. When the parr reach 60-80 grams they undergo a physiological change that enables them to live in salt water and these smolt are ready to transfer to sea sites.
For smolt production, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland has 8 freshwater facilities spread across Argyll, Shetland, Clackmannanshire, Invernesshire and Cumbria.
Our latest freshwater sites include state-of-the art water recycling facilities, making them self-sufficient in water and minimising the environmental impact.
Our two packing facilities are strategically located close enough to our farming area to ensure maximum freshness in the products we sell.
Yell, Shetland and Kirkwall, Orkney have the capacity to gut, grade and pack all the fish we are farming in each respective area. Being auto-sufficient not only maximises traceability and food safety, it also makes us flexible to our market requirements.
Both facilities offer the highest safety foods standards with BRC issue 7 accreditation.