Long-term vi­a­bil­ity

Argyllshire Advertiser - - YOUR VIEWS -

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.

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