Ex­pan­sion of fish farm op­posed

The Arran Banner - - Letters -

Sir, It was with dis­be­lief that I read that the Scot­tish Sal­mon Com­pany (SSC) in­tends to sub­mit an­other ap­pli­ca­tion to sig­nif­i­cantly ex­tend their fish farm in Lam­lash Bay in last week’s Ar­ran Ban­ner.

There is grow­ing sci­en­tific ev­i­dence that aqua­cul­ture has a neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact both on-site (chem­i­cals used, dis­ease, fish waste is­sues, es­caped sal­mon in­ter­breed­ing with wild sal­mon etc.) and in the coun­tries where the fish that are used to feed the sal­mon are caught. I know that I speak for many of us when I say that I can’t un­der­stand why the Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency (SEPA), whose job it should be to pro­tect the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment, is even con­sid­er­ing this ap­pli­ca­tion when the farm is lo­cated in the newly des­ig­nated Ma­rine Pro­tected Area. If open wa­ter fish farms are tol­er­ated in MPA’s at all, then surely they shouldn’t be al­lowed to in­crease in size.

SEPA is Scot­land’s prin­ci­pal en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion agency and claims to be ‘pro­tect­ing and im­prov­ing Scot­land’s en­vi­ron­ment’ but were re­cently ac­cused of sup­press­ing a crit­i­cal re­port on pol­lu­tion af­ter pri­vate lob­by­ing by the fish farm­ing in­dus­try. We should be ask­ing our­selves just how in­de­pen­dent they are and if there is a ten­dency to push through the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s plans for ‘sus­tain­able’ growth of the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try at all costs.

In ad­di­tion, as far as I’m aware, SSC is mainly owned by Nor­we­gian and Ukrainian in­vestors and the par­ent com­pany is reg­is­tered in Jersey – one does ask one­self where the prof­its go. Why should they be al­lowed to pol­lute and de­grade our ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment for profit when the tech­nol­ogy ex­ists for land­based fish farms, where the ef­flu­ent can be dealt with in a re­spon­si­ble way and there is no chance of fish es­cap­ing into the wild?

Whether we en­joy the bay as row­ers, kayak­ers, sailors, divers or just ap­pre­ci­ate a walk on the beach, the ma­jor­ity of us want to know that the bio­di­ver­sity of the Clyde (the beauty of which can be seen on the web­site Ar­ran Seal­ife) is be­ing sup­ported and pro­tected. Why are lo­cal res­i­dents not be­ing lis­tened to? And why do we need to keep spend­ing time and en­ergy again and again to fight against some­thing that has very lit­tle sup­port on the is­land.

Yours, Stu­art Turner Lam­lash

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