Aquaculture takes place in increasingly well used sea areas and has a complex relationship with its operating environment and impact on surrounding landscapes. Careful site selection for fish farms is required to ensure that the water quality in the cages is adequate throughout the production cycle. Fish and shellfish farming can have a range of effects on the surrounding environment, so licensing for these operations is largely determined by the scope, control and management of environmental impacts and risks. Aquatera’s broad understanding of the ecology, science, economics, culture and heritage associated with marine and coastal activities means that we are very well placed to provide insightful and focussed advice on the planning and management of these activities.

Aquatera brings its expertise to bear by examining the complex interactions between aquaculture and the marine environment, and the relationships these operations have with other industrial activities.  As with many other aspects of our work, the fact that many of our staff live in a community involved in aquaculture gives us both a thorough understanding of the issues and direct experience.

During 2023, Aquatera has supported projects for all of the current major Aquaculture development companies across Scotland. This has included strategic resource assessment and planning stages as well as technical work to support Marine Survey, Landscape and Visual Assessment and Habitats Regulation Appraisal work.

We currently have multiple commissions supporting Scottish Sea Farms across Orkney and Shetland, and for Cooke Aquaculture in Orkney,


Our portfolio of services includes site identification and option evaluation, planning and licensing, surveys and EIA, and in addition we can undertake the following types of work for aquaculture developments:

  • Evaluation of renewable energy supplies
  • Feasibility of offshore exposed location activity
  • Strategic planning and capacity assessment
  • Landscape and seascape capacity assessments
  • Landscape visual impact assessment

Image credit: Thibault Gras