Newsletter No1 3rd February 2017
The petition against the development has so far gathered more than 220 signatures, almost all local, and it is still growing. Thank you for adding your names - it is already working!
On the 27th January a group of Tayvallich residents met Michael Russell MSP to show him the petition and to express concern about the proposed fish farm at Dounie. After hearing the details Mr Russell said he too objected to the location because it is inside the new Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura Marine Protected Area (designated for critically endangered skate), inside the Knapdale National Scenic Area (Scotland's highest form of landscape protection), and as it is only 5km from the mouth of the River Add, one of very few remaining rivers between Tarbert and Fort William with a good population of wild salmon and sea trout.
He recognised that adult wild fish have to swim through Dounie bay on their way to the Add and the rivers further north, while juvenile fish coming down the Add also use the area. They would pick up potentially lethal infestations of parasitic sea lice from the 1.1 million caged fish.
Sea lice are a growing problem for salmon farms, especially in Argyll. Despite the use of toxic chemicals soaring by 1000% in the last decade, sea lice infestations are more common than ever. They could wipe out the River Add's popular and economically valuable salmon and sea trout fishery.
We also explained that many of the area's businesses are based on the sustainable use of the sea and on Knapdale's great natural beauty. We told him that the proposed fish farm would block a popular anchorage used by local boats and by yachts passing through the Crinan Canal. It would also make the bay unavailable to creel fishermen and scallop divers and it would be in the path of the new and very popular Scottish Sea Kayak Trail.
Mr Russell said he will also raise the subject with the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary responsible for aquaculture and will ask the government to clarify its policy on fish farm developments inside MPAs.
He will urge the government to take a precautionary approach when there are possible impacts on endangered animals such as the skates in the Sound of Jura, in particular where information about such sensitive species is lacking or still being gathered.
Mr Russell was previously the Minister for Environment and is now Minister for the UK Negotiations on Scotland's Place in Europe.
If you would like to write to thank him for his support his email address is: Michael.Russell.firstname.lastname@example.org
One of mid-Argyll's three Councillors, Dougie Philand, has agreed to discuss the proposal. Cllr Donnie MacMillan has explained that he cannot do so as he is on the planning committee that will consider the proposal. Cllr Sandy Taylor is away on leave but has also been asked to discuss the plans with us on his return.
Please write to the councillors to show your concerns about the plans. It would be really helpful to show them the strength of feeling that exists. Mention specifics if you want to but these do not need to be complex messages.
At its recent AGM the Lochgilphead Anglers' Club agreed to oppose the plan and to urge its members to express their concerns to local councillors.
A planning permission application to Argyll and Bute Council is expected soon.
Thanks again for your support. Our best hope is to show that a lot of people care.
If you would prefer not to hear updates on this ongoing campaign please drop us an email.
Friends of the Sound of Jura