Conservation charity Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) has lodged an objection to a planned fish farm that it says is a major threat to a marine protected area.
Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) is seeking a permission for eight salmon cages in the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area, near Horse Island in the Summer Isles, but the SWT has said that the waste from the captive fish could damage kelp forests and also the beds of maerl, a hard purple-pink seaweed.
SSF has already reduced its proposed scheme from 14 cages, but Dr Sam Collin from the SWT said: “The site proposed by Scottish Sea Farms is entirely unsuitable due to its proximity to important protected habitats, and protecting the health of Scotland's seas with an effective network on protected areas is increasingly important.
“Allowing this salmon farm to go ahead when it threatens so many of the features which should be safeguarded by the marine protected area would set a worrying precedent.”
Scottish Sea Farms countered by saying it already had farms in the Wester Ross MPA, and that the economic benefits of its proposed farm would include six new jobs and £3m spending with local and Scottish suppliers on farm infrastructure and equipment.
Photo credit: Howard Wood