Plans for a new fish farm, which would be the first of its kind in Scotland, in Argyll have been rejected by the Trossachs National Park Authority.
Loch Long Salmon submitted the planning application for its first farm, below Beinn Reithe in November and proposed using “semi-closed farming systems” which it claimed would separate wild and farmed fish.
The national park’s authority board refused the application and said that “a nationally important landscape is not the appropriate location to host development of such an industrial scale”.
The board added that the impacts associated with a potential escape of farmed fish at the site near Arrochar was “a significant concern”.
Long Loch Salmon had argued that the proposed semi-enclosed containers have been deployed already in Norway, Canada and the Faroe Islands.
James Stuart, convener of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority said: “The semi-closed containment systems proposed – whilst noted as a substantial step forward for the industry – have not yet been trialled in Scotland and there is not a sound body of evidence on which to base decision making.
“There is a clear risk that the technology may not be sufficiently successful and the location of the application site in Loch Long – with connectivity to the Endrick Water Special Area of Conservation and its fragile population of Atlantic salmon – means that the impacts associated with a potential escape of farmed fish is a significant concern.”
He added: “The proposed development also presents a number of significant landscape, seascape and visual issues. It would have an industrial character and would notably contrast with the largely undeveloped and remote character of the local landscape.”
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