Press release 12 March 2017
Kayakers paddle to protest against proposed Sound of Jura fish farm
Kayakers from Mid-Argyll have come together to show their opposition to a fish farm application in the Sound of Jura. A group of 18 kayakers paddled a section of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail between Carsaig and Crinan, stopping at Dounie, the site of the proposed fish farm.
Local kayaker Libby Anderson said: "The proposed fish farm is massive and a really difficult hurdle for all but the most experienced kayakers, especially in unstable weather. The bay would be utterly changed and dominated by it. The delight in seeing the many birds and mammals in their natural environment, while paddling in safety close to the shore, would be greatly compromised. As a kayaker I think this area is one of the most special and accessible on the west coast. She added: A growing number of instructors and pupils are becoming involved in kayaking. They use this very popular route especially as they can rest, picnic or camp in the much loved bay at Dounie".
Will Self of Wild Argyll said: "Dounie is on a popular section of the Scottish Sea Kayak Trail and a spur off the new Argyll Sea Kayak Trail. Its sheltered bay is used by kayakers on what is otherwise an exposed stretch of the Sound of Jura with steep sides and fast flowing water. He added: Dounie is in a very wild location in the heart of the Knapdale National Scenic Area, which has Scotland’s highest level of landscape protection partly for “views of the sea and remoteness, isolation and seclusion, a place to stay and contemplate”.
Rhod Watt, Scottish Canoe Association Access Advisor said: "The fish farm would be only 50 meters from the shore, which is much closer to the shore than most fish farms. It is also unclear whether passage between the cages and the shore would be blocked by mooring cables. Even if it is possible for kayaks to pass inshore, this would not be the obvious route for anyone unfamiliar with the site. Kayakers would therefore attempt to pass outside the fish farm where turbulent tidal waters are made worse by the effects of the sea bed plateau suddenly dropping off into a deep trench. They would find themselves in entirely more threatening sea conditions."