Letter to Kames Fish Farming Ltd

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Mr S. Cannon
Kames Fish Farming Ltd
Kilmelford

18th December 2017

Dear Mr Cannon

Thank you for showing us your letter to SEPA and for doing the right thing with respect to Dounie, in the light of the damage that would have resulted to the sea fan and sponge community there.

Protecting the breeding salmon and sea trout in the River Add and in the Sound from sea lice would have been an equally good reason to drop your plans.

We do not agree that the impact of a fish farm on flapper skate and porpoises can be dismissed by saying that these species are highly mobile. Tagging studies have shown that individual flapper skate are faithful to their own small areas in the deep trenches of the Sound. As you know, the area is also protected as an cSAC for porpoises (a species in steep decline in the UK),
because they breed here. Neither species can swim off to find somewhere else that suits them equally well.

Nor are flapper skate found over a wide area. They are classed by IUCN as critically endangered – the same category as mountain gorillas and Sumatran rhinos – the last stage before extinction. The Marine Protected Area was set up specifically to protect them, because Scotland holds most of the world’s population of these fish, mostly in Argyll and Orkney. They are protected as Marine Priority Features outside the MPA as well.

Given that this is one of the two best areas in the world for flapper skate, it is entirely possible that they sometimes feed on dead fish or surplus fish pellets under your fish farm cages. This should be a cause for concern for you, SNH and SEPA, given that there is no information on the long-term effects on skate of emamectin benzoate or the various bath chemicals. They live for many decades and these toxins are likely to accumulate in their bodies.

If you have any plans to site fish farms in the Sound of Jura in future, the Friends of the Sound of Jura would of course be interested. If you do consider such a course, we hope you will reconsider the significant impact that any such plans would have on the Sound’s skate, porpoises and wild salmonids.

With best wishes for a happy Christmas.

The Friends of the Sound of Jura

cc Jim Frame, SEPA

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The Sound of Jura is home to some of the most fascinating and diverse marine life in Scotland.  We seek to protect the Sound, the River Add and their local users from threats to the area’s wildlife and local sustainable economy.