Expansion of fish farm opposed
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