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Here is the latest Newsletter from Friends of the Sound of Jura.
Please see Newsletter Archive below for earlier Newsletters.
Newsletter No24 15 February 2021
Friends of the Sound of Jura has been busy lobbying for greater marine protection during 2020, despite Covid-19 preventing us from holding public meetings or taking part in events such as the Tayvallich Weekend. Some of this has taken place with the other members of Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot team, for instance by giving a joint presentation to Argyll and Bute councillors on the potential value of the Hope Spot’s MPAs to ecotourism, set up by Christine Richards.
We have continued to argue for better marine protection, for instance being quoted in several articles in The Ferret (eg https://theferret.scot/fish-farm-pesticide-pollution-rise-2019/ ). To achieve this we have sought information from public bodies via freedom of information requests to Marine Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council, NatureScot (previously SNH), Marine Scotland and Crown Estates, and had online meetings and calls with their staff.
FoSoJ has responded to the following fish farm planning permission applications:
FoSoJ is a supporter of the OurSeas campaign for the restitution of a modern spatial coastal limit for bottom-contacting fishing (See link to The Limit film below). We were pleased to see the discovery of a flapper skate eggcase nursery in the Inner Sound, Skye receive publicity on Autumnwatch and elsewhere.
Through its membership of the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland, FoSoJ has:
Regularly attended meetings of SEPA’s Finfish Advisory Panel, arguing for reductions in pollution.
Responded to a number of SEPA and Marine Scotland consultations.
Supported other communities on fish farm planning issues.
lobbied regulators, MSPs and the Scottish Government to improve regulations on the cumulative impact of fish farm pollution, sea lice on wild fish and Acoustic Deterrent Devices on cetaceans.
During 2020, FoSoJ applied for and received the following funding:
A grant from the Highlands and Islands Environment Foundation for our new Hope Spot Project Development Officer Keira Anderson. Keira's primary role is to scope out projects that we could run during 2021; Scotland’s Year of Coast and Waters. Public engagement and citizen science seabed surveys are important elements of this, Covid-permitting.
A Community Support Fund grant, to help us undertake citizen science.This was used to develop sea lice tracking from fish farms in the Greater Clyde, using hydrodynamic modelling. The cumulative impact of lice from multiple farms is being overlooked by regulators (see image below). This information has been valuable for our and others’ responses to planning applications, and featured in a Herald article (17/01/21).
A grant from NatureScot, shared with CROMACH, for a dropdown video camera to allow us to start doing surveys of the seabed, aiming to identify Priority Marine Features so far overlooked by NatureScot. CROMACH will house the camera. We may also be able to use it to assess the suitability of sites for the reintroduction of native oysters, and the restoration of existing seagrass meadows, and for educational outreach, as its long cable can bring an image to a monitor on the shore.
If you would like to have a say about the North Kilbrannan fish farm proposal you have until 19th February to email Sandra.Davies@argyll-bute.gov.uk quoting 20/01345/MFF
FoSoJ’s objection letter is here, with a summary of reasons why the proposed farm will do harm: https://portal360.argyll-bute.gov.uk/my-requests/document-viewer?DocNo=22335719
The campaign to ban Acoustic Deterrent Devices has also become urgent, with action needed within two weeks.
Marine Scotland is considering whether to issue EPS licences to allow fish farms to carry on using ADDs - very loud underwater loud speakers, which disturb porpoises, dolphins and whales. Disturbing cetaceans is illegal without an EPS licence. It ought to be impossible for the Scottish Government to issue such a licence for any ADD, as stronger ’seal-proof’ nets are a viable alternative.
Will Marine Scotland act reasonably and insist that fish farms must use these nets, rather than allowing fish farms to carry on disturbing cetaceans?
Based on past performance, it seems unlikely, so please sign and circulate this petition, https://www.change.org/p/roseanna-cunninham-scottish-government-cabinet-secretary-for-the-environment-save-dolphins-porpoises-and-seals-from-scottish-salmon-farms/u/28549578?cs_tk=AoL12BZQ-oVtG-RKLWAAAXicyyvNyQEABF8BvCarffzSwitPpPYOJPe3Lyw%3D&utm_campaign=10a1a8a9cf6e49ff97439e50d022f7d1&utm_content=initial_v0_4_0&utm_medium=email&utm_source=petition_update&utm_term=cs
And please write to your MSP if you can, urging them to ask Fergus Ewing and Roseanna Cunningham, the ministers responsible, not to issue EPS licences for ADDs because seal-proof nets are a viable alternative.
A recent report in the Ferret suggests that for these and other reasons, fish farming has had a hidden cost of £3.3bn to Scotland’s other users of the sea and to its marine environment.
A recent piece in the Herald shows that SEPA does not assess the risk that pesticide discharges might harm swimmers, when it issues fish farms with pollution licences. This applies to all of Scotland’s 200 or so farms.
The Limit is a film by the OurSeas coalition about restoring the threatened connections between people and the life in our sea. It explores the impacts of drastic declines in Scotland’s fish populations and the hidden damage to our seabed. You can view it here http://bit.ly/The-Limit.
It asks the question; How can we bring about an urgent and fair transition towards more sustainable fishing?
Friends of the Sound of Jura
Community Group Member of
The Coastal Communities Network, Scotland