More jobs are likely when a second Stronsay organic site opens in 2021, Cooke reported on its website.
Four Stronsay residents have been recruited for the first farm located at Mill Bay to the east of the island, and successfully completed their induction with Cooke at its Kirkwall base last week.
They will now spend time at Cooke’s other seawater sites to gain new skills and experience before the site takes delivery of organic smolts.
Still at school
One of the new recruits, Johnny Smith, is starting as a casual worker until he completes his school studies and becomes a permanent, full-time member of staff.
Smithtold Cooke’s website: “I’m in fifth year at Kirkwall Grammar School but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to join the aquaculture sector.
“After I applied the people at Cooke were willing to take me on but wanted me to stay on at school to do my exams. So, I’m starting as a casual worker until the summer and then I’ll become a full-time member of the team.
“There are not that many career opportunities on the island so it’s great to know that I have a long-term career which lets me stay on Stronsay before I’ve left school.”
First management post
Mill Bay site manager Norman Peace has been with Cooke for six years and was a senior site assistant on another Orkney island, Rousay, before being promoted to lead the new Stronsay site.
He said: “This is my first site management post so it’s my job to train these guys up. I’m excited about the challenge, helping these guys to develop new skills and to produce good fish.
“It’s a new site and a new team so I’m keen that we all learn and grow together.”
Cooke is confident that once the site becomes operational the increase in salmon production will lead to additional fish processing jobs at the firm’s processing plant at Hatston industrial estate.
Mill Bay and the second organic site – Bay of Holland – will each comprise 16 pens and a 300-tonne semi-automated feed barge. They will take the number of Cooke sites in Orkney to 19.