Strong opposition lodged to proposed new fish farm

Applicant claims it would create jobs and fund new homes, but objectors say industry is damaging to the environment.

Strong opposition lodged to proposed new fish farm STV News

Strong opposition has been lodged to a proposed fish farm in a fragile eco-system on Scotland’s north-west coast.

Mooted for a site off Horse Island in the Summer Isles, near Ullapool – within a Scottish Government marine protected area – the applicant Scottish Sea Farms argues that it would create jobs and fund new homes.

The Scottish Protection Environment Agency is currently considering a licence application. If approved, Highland councillors would then deliberate.

But objectors claim the industry is filthy and damaging to the environment.

Poppy Lewis-Ings, of the Ullapool Sea Savers campaign group, said: “People need to realise that the sea is such a beautiful place and I think if they know what damage it can cause and what life can be threatened in it they might take a second guess to maybe changing what they’re going to do.”

Fellow campaigner Megan Loftus said: “We’ve got to stop it right now so that the MPAs can actually be a marine protected area rather than just a circle on a map.”

Noel Hawkins of the Scottish Wildlife Trust said the introduction of a protected area status had cost livelihoods.

He said: “Trawling was restricted in some of the areas and some of the boats that did concede ground were local boats that worked that ground.

“And it seems a bit of a betrayal to them – and to those of us who fought for this marine protected area – that those guys have conceded ground which is now potentially going to be handed over to multinationals.”

Scottish Sea Farms said it planned to create six jobs and promised that a new fish farm would boost the local economy and contribute towards the cost of providing much-needed new homes.

Spokeswoman Sarah Last said: “Every farming has some kind of an impact and it’s important to keep that impact as minimal as possible and to do it sustainably.

“Ultimately, we’re trying to feed a planet and we have to find a way to do that sustainably.

“The really good thing about fish farming is that it has such a low-carbon footprint, I think the lowest of all the farming industries.”

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