Plans submitted for innovative new salmon farm at Loch Long

The proposed fish farm would see giant pollution-limiting containers separate wild and farmed fish.

Plans submitted for innovative new salmon farm at Loch Long Supplied

Plans have been submitted for an innovative new salmon farm to be opened in Argyle and Bute, which would help tackle pollution and stop the spread of parasitic lice.

The proposed fish farm, set to be built at Loch Long, would see giant pollution-limiting containers separate wild and farmed fish.

Environment agency Sepa granted a licence for the semi-enclosed vessels, in a move welcomed by Loch Long Salmon.

The proposed farm would help tackle concerns regarding the high numbers of fish deaths caused by sea lice jumping onto farmed salmon from wild fish brushing past the pens.

Loch Long Salmon has submitted a planning application to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, and hope to begin construction on the site by the end of the year.

Director of Loch Long Salmon, Stewart Hawthorn, said: “We are delighted Sepa has granted the CAR licence for our Beinn Reithe site in Loch Long, particularly for their thorough but helpful approach which will help bring semi-closed containment aquaculture to Scotland for the first time.

“Semi-closed farming systems look much like conventional pens from above. But under the water they have an opaque, impermeable outer barrier that surrounds the fish net.

“This farming system has been operating successfully in Norway since 2014 and is now being deployed in the Faroes and Canada, but this is the first time it will be used in Scotland. 

“This exemplar project provides an opportunity to show closer to home what is possible and to secure the future of the salmon farming industry in Scotland.  It will, reduce environmental impacts while continuing to support vital jobs and economies in rural Scotland.

“With this Sepa licence, I hope the planning authority will act quickly to grant permission so that we can begin construction of this exciting project.” 

Jo Green, acting chief executive of Sepa, said: “We want Scotland to be a world-leading innovator of ways to minimise the environmental footprint of food production and supply, and for aquaculture operators to have a strong and positive relationship with neighbouring users of the environment and the communities in which they operate.   

“As such, semi-closed containment systems, such as that proposed by Loch Long Salmon, have the potential to play a significant role in enhanced sustainability through reduced medicine use and discharge.

“We will continue to encourage and support businesses across the sector to introduce environmentally innovative approaches to fish production.”

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