Dawnfresh expansion set to go ahead
SCOTTISH trout farmer Dawnfresh is expected to win approval to increase its number of fish pens on Loch Etive in Argyll.
A meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee recommended that planning permission be granted to replace 10 x 80m cages with 12 x 80m cages of an alternative design.
Also, the installation of a hopper feed system and a biomass of 1,545 tonnes was recommended for approval at the site, Etive 4 at Airds Bay.
The application had received more than 330 objections, mostly channelled through the Friends of Loch Etive campaign group.
But subject to certain conditions, objections by the group, and by the Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, were withdrawn.
‘Both parties appear reassured by the manner in which the application has been handled, and subject to some minor changes being made to the recommended conditions to address their concerns, the Fishery Board would be willing to withdraw its original objection,’ said the council’s report.
And the Friends of Loch Etive, represented by Guy Linley-Adams (who also represents the anti-salmon farm lobby group Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland), ‘would be content to see the application determined in the first instance, without the opportunity for them and their mem- bers to appear at a local hearing’.
The conditions imposed on Dawnfresh include ensuring the finished surfaces of the hoppers and floats are of a dark recessive colour.
And prior to the first stocking of any more than 10 of the 12 permitted cages or any increase in current permitted biomass across the site as a whole, Dawnfresh must ‘submit a strategy for monitoring and managing the interactions between the operation of the farm and the wild fish environment’.
This strategy should address responses to breaches of containment and sea lice control measures at the site, as well as set out a programme for the monitoring of changes in the prevalence of sea lice infestations among wild salmonids within a zone of 30km from the farm.
Above: Dawnfresh farming director Alison Hutchins