Sir, With reference to James Lithgow’s letter of September 7, it is important to make a couple of points.
Mr Lithgow is right to say kelp has been sustainably harvested in Argyll for generations. There can be no comparison, however, with the current proposal to mechanically dredge up entire stands from the seabed together with all the fragile life that depends on them. This is not sustainable as evidenced in the few countries which have allowed this practice to take place.
Seaweed cultivation, on the other hand, is sustainable and more can be found on this through the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
The 2018 parliamentary inquiry into the environmental impact of salmon farming warned current methods could cause ‘irrecoverable damage’.
This is deeply concerning to those of us who live here, raise families and rely on the sea for our creel fishing, shellfish and tourism businesses. We also all have an inherent responsibility to care for our environment and there is increasing urgency to do this.
Enterprises do need to be encouraged to grow and to provide opportunities and employment. This, however, must be done responsibly and with thought for the long-term viability of our communities.
The profits of the predominantly multi-national salmon farming companies, who benefit from current loopholes in our environmental regulations, are well able to fund a responsible and researched approach for sustainability and diverse employment opportunities. Norway, for example, is encouraging its salmon farmers to adopt closed containment and these methods are working well in a number of other countries, including the USA.
The council has a legal responsibility for the environment and needs to take precautions for the future of Argyll, not just for job numbers today.
If short-term interests are prioritised, all of our futures will be much the poorer.
Will Self, on behalf of Friends of the Sound of Jura.