Free event - Our hopes for the future of the Sound of Jura
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Image by Jane Smith ©
We had a very good update meeting of FoSoJ on Sunday 2 December, attended by about 120 people. We discussed the Mission Blue Hope Spot nomination, kelp dredging and the Crown Estates Bill, illegal dredging in the Firth of Lorn SAC, the review of protection of PMFs from dredging and trawling, the Corpach Bay fish farm proposal, BDNC Loch Shuna's 3500t expansion (despite it having only "borderline" seabed status at 2500t), the RECC Inquiry's recommendations, and the SEPA Aquaculture Sector Review drop-in event on Tuesday 4 December in Lochgilphead.
Quite a number of people expressed an interest in attending this drop-in event (in Lochgilphead Community Centre, Tue 4 Dec, 2.30pm-7pm: no appointment needed). FoSoJ is meeting SEPA in the morning.
On a show of hands the great majority of those attending agreed that FoSoJ represents their views and that we should continue to engage with decision and policy-makers. No one disagreed -- which of course you might expect in a public meeting of this kind -- so we made sure to invite anyone to say at any time, not just at the meeting, what they think FoSoJ should and should not do or say on behalf of the community.
The discussion afterwards was really interesting, with important points raised about the need for a balance between food production jobs and the maintenance of the healthy environment that sustains those jobs and that food. Farmers, creel fishermen and an ex-fish-farm worker joined in. We hope to invite a scallop dredger skipper to talk to us.
It was clear that FoSoJ is correct in representing those of the community who attended, in saying that aquaculture is a good and necessary activity, but that it should not harm the environment or our sustainable jobs that depend on the health of the sea. There was agreement that we are doing the right thing in arguing for that harm to be reduced much closer to zero, hence the interest in the SEPA meeting and review, the outcomes of the RECC Inquiry, and waste recapture/closed containment systems.
It was a positive and well-informed discussion that continued beyond the meeting and, we are sure, will be ongoing.