Newsletter No4 25 April 2017
Thank you for supporting the campaign to protect Dounie Bay and its surroundings from being filled with more than a million caged salmon or rainbow trout, and the damage this enormous fish farm would do to the coast we all love. Here is an update on how some of it is going:
The application is still with SEPA who have an extension to make their decision. We will be in touch as soon as the application goes to the Council and we will provide guidelines on how to object.
We now have over 3,000 names on our petition. This combines the local petition with the online one (https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-to-fish-farm-in-the-sound-of-jura or tinyurl.com/fosoj for an easy-to-remember link).
Many of us helped out with the primary school beach clean, removing “a massive amount of rubbish” from the shores of Loch Sween to Dounie bay. The GRAB trust helped with equipment and will send a cheque to the school.
Last week supporters of the Friends of the Sound of Jura attended the hustings held at Ardrishaig public hall. The event was organised by the Argyllshire Advertiser and brought together six of the seven prospective candidates for the three council seats that are up for grabs on 4 May in the council elections. These candidates are Jane Kelly (Labour), Jane McCurdie (Independent), Donnie MacMillan (Independent), Alec McNeilly (Conservative), Dougie Philand (Independent), Sandy Taylor (SNP). The Green candidate, Elaine Morrison, was unable to attend.
The candidates were given 2 minutes to introduce themselves, and then the meeting was thrown open to questions from the floor. As reported in the Argyllshire Advertiser, questions ranged through education and community empowerment to the cancelling of bus services.
Mark Smith from the Friends of the Sound of Jura asked the following question:
Many of you will have heard about the proposed fish farm at Dounie in the Sound of Jura and the huge objection to this proposal from the local community. Fish farms create jobs but also have a bad impact on the very environment that tourists come here to see. The Scottish government wants to double the size of the fish farm industry in the next 12 years. Where do the candidates feel the balance lies between expanding the fish farm industry and protecting the environment?
The candidates' responses can be summarised as follows:
Jane Kelly / Labour: Supportive of fish farms in general but concerned about the sea lice issue. Made no reference to the Dounie proposal.
Jane McCurdie / Independent: Totally against fish farms and, as an angler herself, would like to see no further fish farms on the west coast. Made reference to the negative impact that anti sea lice chemicals can have on other wildlife close to fish farms and to crustaceans that creel fishermen catch.
Donnie McMillan / Independent: Made it clear that as he was on the planning committee that will adjudicate on the Dounie case if Kames apply for planning application he couldn't comment on that case.
Alec McNeilly / Conservative: Against fish farms, thought they were awful. Highlighted the sea lice problem and the recent report from Marine Harvest of falling salmon production due to sea lice since last year. He also said disagreed with the practice of shooting seals that fish farms sometimes resort to.
Dougie Philand / Independent: Said he wasn't against fish farms in general but that the Dounie proposal was in the wrong place and he strongly opposed it. He highlighted the fact it would be in a Marine Protected Area and too close to the River Add.
Sandy Taylor / SNP: Said he was also on the planning committee so couldn't comment on the Dounie proposal.
In general though he supported fish farms. Thought that there were regulatory bodies in place, such as SEPA, that would protect the environment and we should trust them do their job.
As a footnote to this, it seems that after the council elections a new planning committee will be formed which will not necessarily have the same personnel on board.
Keep in touch!
There has been a steady stream of Press coverage and we have kept our Facebook and website up to date. Please keep in touch with the campaign via the Friends of the Sound of Jura Facebook page, the website and on Twitter.
Friends of the Sound of Jura