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Promotes employability and relevant social impact

Cooke Aquaculture Scotland and Orkney: A summary of our impacts for people and communities report shows that the company’s salmon farming operations are having a “significant positive” social impact on their employees and the community viability of the islands.

In more detail, the report notes that Cooke’s skilled, permanent jobs, are paying 24.8% more than the Orkney average and 8.6% above the average for Scotland. This includes a bonus and overtime payments during the period 2020-21.

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Above all, Cooke performance supported local businesses and jobs, maintained local populations, sustained the uptake of local schools, ferries, shops and cafes; and created ongoing operational spending with local businesses.

Likewise, Joel Richardson, Vice President of Public Relations for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland recalled: “When we first came to Orkney in 2014, as a family-owned company we understood immediately that the jobs we provided mattered – really mattered.”

“We have never forgotten that and now we employ 122 people in Orkney, 51 of them on our farms. That includes 25 new jobs created in 2016-2021, all of them helping to keep remote communities viable,” he detailed.

Creating a community

In addition, Cooke spent £18.27 million during 2016-2021 on the Orkney economy by investing in farms, buildings, and the Kirkwall packing station. Also, focusing on local businesses such as Roving Eye Enterprises, Malakoff Ltd., and others working in transport, net and boat repairs, diving, fuel, and consultancy.

Regarding this, Ken Laird, Processor and Maintenance Assistant at Cooke Aquaculture Scotland said: “I love the thrill of working for a company that is doing so well, sending beautiful salmon all over the world, especially the organic salmon we raise in Orkney. We need to shout out more about how good it is. Young people getting a job in aquaculture have won the lottery.”

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Future plans

Furthermore, Ben Johnson, Environmental Development Manager for Cooke Aquaculture Scotland assured that all these actions will allow a new offshore 6-pen farm. “It is proposed to be located to the east of Papa Westray and north of Cooke’s first offshore farm at Skelwick Skerry. The East Moclett farm would add 6 new jobs and be serviced out of Cooke’s Westray shore base,” he explained.

Finally, Richardson confirmed: “We aim to continue to farm with care – to ensure long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of Orkney and the Northern Isles. Cooke’s core purpose is ‘To cultivate the ocean with care, nourish the world, provide for our families, and build stronger communities and our approach to sustainability is central to this.”

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