How we are regulated

Salmon farming is regulated very heavily by different authorities, covering key areas like environmental protection, animal welfare and community consultation. Here you can find out about the regulations we operate within and how we fulfil our obligations.

Like all fin fish aquaculture, Grieg Seafood Shetland is subject to strict government regulations. In fact, Scotland’s salmon farmers are amongst the most highly regulated in the world. The two main regulatory bodies for our operations are the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Marine Scotland.


SEPA mandates that we do regular seabed monitoring, to assess whether our operations have adverse environmental impacts on the surrounding sea zone or seabed. SEPA strictly regulates the acceptable levels of impact, which is calculated based on pre-approved modelling using the SEPA model, newDepomod. If Grieg Seafood Shetland was ever found to be causing an adverse environmental impact, then SEPA have the regulatory authority to cut our approved tonnage levels immediately. Grieg Seafood Shetland and SEPA are both concerned with minimising any potential adverse environmental impact as a result of salmon farming. That is why we always comply with the terms of our CAR licence issued by SEPA regarding our responsibilities to protect the environment, such as limiting our use of medicinal treatments and not overfeeding our fish. You can find out more about SEPA here:

Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland is concerned with both the safe use of the marine environment and the health and welfare of fish. Three main sub-bodies work together: the Fish Health Inspectorate, the Licensing Operations Team, and the Seal Licensing Team. Marine Scotland regulates our maritime equipment such as our anchors, lighting and vessels for the purposes of maritime navigation and safety. Additionally, Marine Scotland regulates on the issue of fish health and welfare to ensure that salmon farmers fulfil their duty of care for the fish. You can find out more about Marine Scotland here:

“Scotland’s salmon farmers are amongst the most highly regulated in the world in terms of both environment and fish welfare. At Grieg Seafood, we strive to produce superior quality salmon in the most responsible, sustainable way whilst ensuring compliance with all relevant environmental legislation. Maintaining environmental best practice and high standards of fish welfare will produce a high-quality product.”

Kaye Williamson, Environmental Controller – Grieg Seafood Shetland

Local Planning Authorities

Whenever Grieg Seafood Shetland wants to develop a new site or make changes to an existing one, we have to obtain planning permission before we begin any work. Planning permission requires several pre-requisites to be fulfilled, such as an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and public consultation with local communities and statutory consultees. If our proposals are not deemed to be acceptable then we will reconsider our alternatives and, through discussions, try to arrive at mutual agreements and continue with the consultation process. We can never start development without the consent of the local planning authority, giving adequate time for everyone to voice their opinions. To find out more about Shetland Islands Council marine council click here:​ ​ ​ ​ ​

Other Regulators

Scottish Salmon farming is regulated by a whole host of authorities. Some of which are:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Crown Estate Scotland
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Grieg Seafood Scotland works collaboratively with the relevant authorities to ensure the best outcomes for all our stakeholders. We operate in a sector which is impacted by issues such as climate change, and as such we understand that we must always adapt to new environmental and biological challenges. Authorities base their regulations on scientific evidence. They consider challenges like climate change and the unique environmental and geographic conditions in Scotland when they produce regulations for our industry.

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