Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Proposed Salmon Farm at Ardmaddy

The above map shows the location of the latest threat to the enjoyment of our local waters and the health and safety of navigators and our beautiful landscape. Lakeland Marine are proposing to relocate an existing salmon farm further North in Seil Sound to a position off the entrance to the Cuan Sound. The reason for the relocation is that "hydrographic conditions are more favourable" at the new site, which I assume means in other words that the tidal flows at the existing site are insufficient to remove the enormous quantities of waste food and debris produced by this form of industrial production. 

Once again fish farming, the sacred cow of the Scottish economy, threatens the one asset we truly have in Scotland, our lovely landscape, and the tourist and leisure industries that are our major employers. Far more serious however  is the threat to personal safety, as the proposal presents a major hazard to navigation.

When I first looked at the pre-application proposal I couldn't believe the figures. The farm is to contain twelve circular fish cages, each 100 metres in diameter, in two rows of six, tethered to twentyone  mooring buoys positioned in a rectangle in excess of 300 metres wide by 510 metres long, making a total area, per the application form, of 179,800 square metres, or about 45 acres in old money. There is to be in addition a concrete feed barge, presumably similar to the grey monster off the North end of Shuna.

Above is the layout plan, showing the disposition of the cages and moorings. Effectively the area within the red boundaries becomes an exclusion zone for small craft.

And this is a large scale location plan, showing that the exclusion zone extends about half way across the Sound. This is an area well known for strong tidal streams and wind shifts. It's not as if the Cuan Sound is a backwater, in Summer it's one of the major routes North for visitors. Legally the power of the Crown Estate to grant leases of the seabed is subject to the rights of the public to navigate safely. This application is in flagrant disregard of those rights and must be resisted by all those who value our waters and the safety of those who venture out on them.

I will be looking out for formal notification of the application in the press and trust that those who care will be ready to object to it.


  1. Count me in. Make as big a stink as you can, by any means, publicity, e-petitions, etc. And if all fails and they get permission (which is likely, as the Crown Estate are there to make money after all), the next stage will be no doubt for them to apply for "Soil Association Approval" (More like soiled) and finally to the RSPCA to become a "Freedom Food" (caged salmon, free? Another example of a word being used for the exact opposite meaning). Aaaaah.... I hate salmon farms.

  2. And another thing, since you've got me started: fish farms are the sacred cows of the Highlands, providing miserable subsistence-level, brutal employment, looking after miserable, unnatural flabby so-called salmon, which escape to ruin the indigenous salmon stocks, pollute the waters underneath the cages and whose lice wreck the sea trout in the estuaries. Most of the profits go to Norway.

    They are here to stay, because they provide employment of a sort in a deprived area and, along with whisky, are a rare jewel in Scotland's export crown. But at what a cost to wild stocks? And our notions of humanity?

    Nobody needs salmon. It is a protein too far. Most of it goes for smoked salmon, hardly a basic commodity. Farming salmon is not helping to allevate our chronic over fishing problem. That is slowly being tackled by the EU in its own convoluted way and the likes of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's campaign to stop fish discards.

    Salmon farming is far more cruel than battery chicken farming, caging a wild creature, depriving it of freedom and denying it the one thing it was born for: to migrate up the river of its birth. Would you believe the RSPCA accredit some farmed salmon as Freedom Food! In a cage? Fed by a machine? Sucked up in a giant vacuum cleaner and bashed on the head... Free? It's a perversion of our language. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals indeed. Pah!

    From a yachtsman's point of view salmon farms clog up prime anchoring sites, are smelly, distressing to animal lovers, seal scarers keep you awake all night, and I for one would not want to be tacking up Cuan Sound in a strong wind, when I needed every inch of clear water.

    They do occasionally however provide a secure mooring in extremis, as unless the whole caboodle drifts away, you can be pretty secure. But that's about the only advantage I can see.

  3. Thanks for the support, Adrian. I put up feeder posts in bluemoment and scuttlebutt, which have generated quite a number of comments. Rather than dealing with these piecemeal on different sites I'm going to do a few posts here covering what I think are the history and the issues.


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The Wherrymen
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