Sound of Jura trout farm plan scrapped

Sound of Jura Image copyright Iain Coucher - geograph.org.uk/p/1102861

Kames Fish Farming has withdrawn its application for a SEPA CAR (Controlled Activities Regulations) licence application for a trout farm in the Sound of Jura, Scotland.

KFF applied for a licence for a 12-cage farm at Dounie Bay, south of Crinan, but withdrew the application following environmental considerations.

In a letter to SEPA, Stuart Cannon, managing director of KFF, said: “KFF has decided to take the precautionary approach and not continue with the Dounie project. Thus preserving this area of established sea fan and sponge communities.”

Three SNH concerns

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) raised three issues in February regarding common skate, harbour porpoise, and Northern sea fan and sponge communities.

In response, KFF said it would undertake further assessment but did not think farming operations would pose a “detrimental impact” to either of the species.

It also stated that specialist surveys and analysis commissioned by the company “identified the extent and abundance of the Northern Sea Fan, Devonshire Cup Coral and Sponge Communities in the area.”

Clear stance

In the letter to SEPA, Mr Cannon explained: “Kames Fish Farming has stated throughout the application process that it considers all aspects of possible impact when seeking new sites, including this proposal for Dounie.

“Also, if there is sound scientific evidence that suggests there would be significant or irreparable damage to the environment, it would, at that point, consider withdrawing the application.”

Local opposition

The application had been met with opposition from local environmental group Friends of the Sound of Jura (FoSoJ), which had argued that it posed a threat to native wildlife and pointed out that the proposed location of the farm was a Marine Protected Area.

Mark Smith, speaking on behalf of FoSoJ, said: “We have always maintained that this industrial-sized fish farm should have no place within a Marine Protected Area. The wildlife of the Sound includes the rare Flapper Skate, Porpoises and Otters, as well as smaller rarities like the Northern Sea Fan.

“They have been spared being smothered in thousands of tonnes of fish faeces laced with pesticides every year. The wild salmon and sea trout which migrate to the River Add have been spared the catastrophic burden of sea lice associated with fish farms.”

KFF said it would continue to seek to expand production to meet growing demand for its rainbow trout, and employ local staff.

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