Cooke Aquaculture is a family-owned company, established in 1985. Over the years the company has expanded its facilities, product lines and distribution network, whilst preserving the family and community values it was founded on. It is one of Scotland’s biggest salmon producers, and the largest producer of organic Scottish salmon.
The company’s Scottish seawater salmon farms are located in Shetland and Orkney, where the strong tidal waters are perfect for rearing the world’s finest salmon. In Shetland, the strong currents around Yell and Unst create the perfect conditions for firm and muscular fish. The environmental conditions also make Shetland an ideal location for freshwater operations.
With more than 30 years of successful salmon farming experience, Cooke Aquaculture run a fully integrated farming cycle, from hatchery to plate.
The salmon farming cycle begins in the hatcheries where eggs are collected and fertilised using selected mature salmon broodstock, and then kept in special incubators until they hatch. When the resulting fry are large enough to feed themselves, they are transferred to new tanks and then onwards to the company’s freshwater facilities.
Cooke has 5 freshwater facilities in Shetland and others spread across Argyll, Clackmannanshire, Cumbria and Sutherland. Many of the freshwater sites include state-of-the art water recycling facilities, making them self-sufficient in water and minimising their environmental impact. Here the fish will grow and turn into smolts, when can move into seawater.
During the “on-growing” phase in seawater, the fish grow to several kilos. They are reared using specially formulated feeds to provide complete nutrition 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.
There are 19 on-growing sites in Orkney and over 20 in Shetland. The farming sites are located in remote and rugged places along the coastline; exposed to a strong tidal flow of water. This ensures the fish get plenty of exercise and that the water in the pen is constantly replenished.
The company’s two packing facilities in Mid Yell and Kirkwall are located close to the farms to ensure optimum freshness. All of the company’s fish are gutted, graded and packed in these plants, guaranteeing traceability, the highest food safety standards, and maximum flexibility to meet market requirements.
Cooke Aquaculture Scotland holds Label Rouge accreditation – one of the most prestigious global food standard labels, which is a testament to their farming practices, dedication to fish welfare and a guarantee of the unique taste and quality of their finished product. They also hold full BRC accreditation. They employ more than 360 members of staff, primarily in Orkney and Shetland, where aquaculture is a fundamental part of the local economy.
Deeply rooted in the Shetland, a land of great seafood, Cooke Aquaculture is proud to support the work of Taste of Shetland to celebrate the rich tapestry of exceptional regional produce and the producers that call this rough, rugged, special place, home.