Possible third salmon farm for Kilbrannan Sound

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By Saffron Coffield

Argyll and Bute’s MSP Michael Russell is lukewarm about a scheme for a further salmon farm near Carradale.

Norwegian company, Marine Harvest Scotland (MHS) which runs the largest salmon farm in Europe wants to increase its size by nearly a third.

Last week an application to the Scottish Enviromental Protection Agency(SEPA) from Marine Harvest Scotland (MHS), is seeking approval for a Controlled Activities Regulations licence.

Mr Russell said: ‘I wasn’t aware of this development and am disappointed that there has been so little local consultation about the proposal.

‘Whilst I am supportive of aquaculture in general there needs to be community involvement in all such proposals.

‘I hope the company will now engage with the population and local elected representatives, giving information on why they think further growth is necessary and what alternatives they have considered.

‘That will allow some informed debate about the companies intentions and permit a community view to be formulated.’

The new site seeks to contain a maximum biomass of 2,475 tonnes of farmed salmon, which will be held in 12 pens of 120m in circumference.

The salmon will be fed with an automated feed barge, and the discharge will be disposed into the Kilbrannan Sound, 11km north of Carradale.

If it is successful, the company will have grown by a third in the area, due to already having two existing fish farms in Carradale.

In the application, MHS has stated that its planned maximum production per year is to be 3,611 tonnes of salmon.

The application also inquires the approval of bath medicines, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin and Azamethipos.

These chemicals are used to control salmon parasites on fish farms such as sea lice.

Argyll and Bute MP, Brendan O’Hara added: ‘Aquaculture is a major success in Argyll and Bute and it’s because of the quality of the product they supply.

‘I’m not a consultee in planning matters but I would want to ensure that all of these developments are assessed fairly and transparently and are equally sustainable.”

Argyll First Councillor Donald Kelly said: ‘Marine  Harvest provides much needed employment in Kintyre and any expansion of their facilities should be welcomed.’

A Marine Harvest Scotland spokesperson said: ‘Marine Harvest Scotland is applying to SEPA for an environmental licence, which is the first step towards seeking appropriate permissions for a new site.

‘From our environmental investigations to date we are confident that we have developed a proposal that is environmentally sustainable at this location.

‘This will be followed in due course by wider consultations with our regulators, other statutory bodies and local communities.

‘The environmental license will indicate the permitted scale of the operation,  to guide the capital investment and employment required.’