Press release 23 February 2017
Massive wave of opposition to fish farm application in Sound of Jura
A recent application by Kames Fish Farm Ltd to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for a large (12 cage) trout or salmon farm at Dounie in the Sound of Jura, has provoked an impassioned outcry from the local community. The newly formed Friends of the Sound of Jura believe that the inappropriate siting of the fish farm in the newly designated Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura Marine Protected Area (to protect the critically endangered Common/Flapper Skate) will have a devastating affect on the area’s wildlife and local economy.
The proposed fish farm site is only 5km from the Add, one of the last remaining rivers in the West Highlands that has any appreciable numbers of sea trout and salmon. When migrating from the River Add down the Sound of Jura, the juvenile salmon will swim close to the the proposed fish farm site and risk picking up lethal infections of parasites. It is likely that sea trout also use this route. The farm is likely to affect fish running up to many more rivers on mainland Argyll up as far as the Cuan Sound.
Richard Luxmoore, Senior Nature Conservation Adviser at the National Trust for Scotland says: Experience from elsewhere on the west coast tells us this will prove fatal to the wild salmon and sea trout fishery on the Add. He fears that a fish farm at Dounie would spell the end of all wild salmon and sea trout fisheries in mid and north Argyll as far north as Seil.
Local MSP Michael Russell (previously Cabinet Secretary for the Environment) strongly supports the local community’s view that Douie is an inappropriate site for a fish farm. He has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Rural affairs, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and to the heads of Marine Scotland, SNH and SEPA to express his concern.
In his letter Mr Russell says he has never experienced the weight of objections to a fish farm proposal.
Mr Russell also says: "The fish farm is in a site that is known to be a productive run for wild salmon and there is very strong concern about the effect upon those salmon. There is an associated issue of potential sea lice infestation on wild fish and also many are indeed concerned about sea lice chemicals in the area".