Worrying news from the Salmon & Trout Assoiciation:
For those who have not already heard our good news – last night’s meeting of the full Comhairle, finally refused planning consent for the proposed fish farm in Broad Bay, and for the shore base at Brevig Harbour.
This is a very significant victory for the local community, and for all those who have fought to protect the wild fish and the environment of Broad Bay. In making its decision we feel that the Comhairle has struck the right balance between the need for economic development and the protection of the local environment in the long term.
This Campaign thanks Conmhairle planning staff for their independent and meticulous work in their response to Lighthouse Caledonia’s planning applicaitons.
The Comhairle give three reasons for the rejection of the fish farm application, and the separate appolicaiton for the shore base at Brevig Harbour, which is automatically rejected following the refusal for the fish farm.
The three reasons are:
Reason 1 – The Environmental Statement is considered to be deficient of a robust, independent and accurate assessment of the potential impacts on the wild trout populations in Broadbay from sea-lice dispersal and on salmon and trout populations arising from containment failure (mooring failure or interaction with predator species).
Reason 2 – It is considered that the moorings analysis in the Environmental Statement is not sufficient to allow the design and specification of the mooring system to be verified, to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority.
Reason 3 – The Environmental Statement fails to provide an adequate appraisal of the main alternative sites studied and therefore to defend the choice of site on an environmental basis.
We feel that the Comhairle’s decision is potentially groundbreaking in the way it addresses the issue of protection of sea trout from sea lice infestation, especially, and of wild salmon and sea trout from the risk of mass farmed salmon escapes.
A massive thank you to all who took the time and care to oppose this plan. Between the various bodies and many individuals who campaigned against this fish farm we have achieved a huge victory, but we must now be on our guard, and this campaign intends now to fully focus on keeping fish farms away from Broad Bay and to ensuring that this situation does not reoccur.
The Comhairle’s full decision can be read at:
Another example of the risk the Broad Bay development represents to our local wild salmonid fisheries, comes with the confirmation that 2766 4.5kg (10lb) farmed salmon escaped from a Scottish Salmon Company installation at Vacasay in November – how? – holed nets.
The escape is now recorded in the Scottish Government’s official stats (attached), and serves to highlight just what could happen in the waters of Broad Bay.
We must resist the development of a large fish farm in such a totally unsuitable and inappropriate location – or risk this kind of escape seriously compromising the wild fish ecology of the bay.
On Saturday 20th November 2010 at about 4pm, a small, dark helicopter flew over Broad Bay and then returned and landed on Sgeir Leathann, the small, tidal island group in Broad Bay – AKA ‘An Duin’. Three people got out of the helicopter, stayed briefly on the island and then returned to the helicopter and it departed. The helicopter had yellow or gold lettering on its sides. Concerns have been raised as to the purposes of this landing, and the possibility that helicopter flights in the area could frighten the seal colony at an important time for breeding. There is no suggestion that this flight or landing was in anyway illegal, but we would like to know why this landing occured. All info received in full confidence.
– Lighthouse Caledonia must work with and not against local communities in ensuring a sustainable local environment and the future of our wild fisheries
9th November 2010
The No Fish Farms In Broad Bay campaign totally rejects and condemns comments made by Lighthouse Caledonia in a letter it sent to Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar in response to the rejection of its plans for a fish farm in Broad Bay made by 16 leading marine biologists.
This campaign asserts that Lighthouse Caledonia’s letter in response to the points made by the marine biologists, and which was given wide press coverage earlier this year, fails to address the fundamental concerns raised by opponents to its plans, and instead resorts to unfounded and unsubstantiated attacks on the independence and intentions of the opponents themselves.
The No Fish Farms In Broad Bay fully endorses the response made by Fish Legal (attached) to Lighthouse Caledonia’s letter.
Campaign spokesperson Peter Urpeth said:
‘This campaign has steadfastly focussed on the specific issues of Lighthouse Caledonia’s plan for a fish farm in Broad Bay and the serious environmental risks to the future of the local wild salmonid fishery it represents.
‘The No Fish Farms In Broad Bay campaign has never commented on or campaigned against aquaculture in general, and has never aligned itself with any organisation that campaigns more widely against aquaculture. This campaign’s opposition to Lighthouse Caledonia’s plans has been fought purely on local terms and what their plan means for the future of Broad Bay.
‘We are now completing our response to Lighthouse Caledonia’s submissions, and in doing so it is clear to us that the real extremists in this issue are the applicant company who are attempting to push this plan through against overwhelming local public opposition (more than 90% of local households signed our petition against these plans); against the scientific evidence of 18 independent marine biologists, and at a time when the company have back-tracked on their plans to invest in and create new facilities and jobs at Arnish.
‘Far from this campaign or the marine biologists being a risk to the future of aquaculture in the Western Isles, we assert that a far greater risk to the industry comes from its own attempt to develop totally unsuitable and damaging sites such as that in Broad Bay. We believe that the communities of the Western Isles will support aquaculture in the long term, and that all parties can secure benefits so long as the industry works with and not against the interests and wishes of local communities and develops locally with sensitivity to the sustainability of the local environment and our important wild fisheries.
‘But the company’s recent attempts to undermine the messenger rather than respond to the message makes this campaign very concerned that the company will develop any site it can irrespective of risk, local opinion or local response, and ultimately its off-hand rejection of local interests is an attitude that risks provoking a public back-lash against an industry that should instead be looking to building a sustainable and cooperative future locally.’
Press and Journal
Friday 12 November 2010
‘Big blow’ to fish farm as 4,000 salmon worth £80,000 escape cage
highly unlikely they will go up local rivers, say owners
By Jane Candlish
Around 4,000 fish worth £80,000 escaped from a fish farm in north-west Sutherland this week after the net containing them was damaged.
Owners Loch Duart Ltd said yesterday that the damage was discovered on Tuesday, adding that the loss of the salmon was a “big blow” to the company.
Managing director Nick Joy said that 4,000 of the 10,000 salmon in their Loch Laxford pen escaped.
It is believed that the damage may have been caused by the propeller of a workboat which was alongside the pen.
Loch Duart Ltd is an independent Scottish salmon farm based in Sutherland and the Hebrides. It produces 5,200 tonnes of fish each year and employs some 85 people.
Mr Joy said: “We are deeply sorry about the loss of these fish as we have let ourselves down. It is an operational error that has caused this and we regret it deeply. We will investigate and tighten up procedures where they are found lacking. This is big blow to our morale and a loss to the Sutherland staff that put so much into looking after these salmon.”
Mr Joy added: “The fish that have escaped are in their first year at sea. None of the fish are mature and we believe it to be highly unlikely that any will go towards or up the local rivers.
“It is likely that they will fall prey to seals and other predators as there are plenty in the area. That being said, we have informed all the local consultees and will co-operate in any way if they believe that we have caused any risk to the environment.
“We have let down our own standard both for our company and for those who exist around our business. We apologise and accept our responsibility to improve.”
He added that the local fishery board and Scottish Government had been told about the escape.
Reporting escapes is a condition of the authorisation for aqua-culture production businesses under the Aquatic Animal Health (Scotland) Regulations 2009.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Marine Scotland has been notified about the incident at Loch Laxford, as is required under statutory obligations. Marine Scotland’s fish health inspectors will now take forward an investigation into the circumstances of the escape.”
A warning of what might be from Argyll, full article below: