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Fresh protests over plans for 5,000 tonne salmon farm

Atlantic Salmon Environment +2 more

The Scottish Salmon Company’s plans to establish a 5,000 tonne salmon farm off the north coast of Arran have sparked fresh protests by island residents over the festive season.

The company, which has recently been acquired by Bakkafrost, has lodged an application for a 20-pen site at Millstone Point, to the east of Lochranza. Following protests in the autumn, banners have recently been erected in a bid to block the application, reports the Guardian.

The Scottish Salmon Company aims to establish a new 5,000 tonne capacity farm close to the popular tourist destination of Lochranza, in the north of Arran

If given the green light the Millstone Point site would have twice the capacity of the largest sites currently operational in Scotland, as the company seeks to capitalise on changes in regulations which provisionally allow for larger sites to be developed in higher energy locations. It will also, according to the SSC, create 10 local jobs and provide £1 million for the island’s economy.

However, residents have voiced their concerns over issues, including pollution – with campaigners arguing that the site would produce the equivalent faecal matter of a city of 66,000 people, considerably higher than the 14,000 claimed by SSC. Objections have also been raised by Scottish Natural Heritage and Marine Scotland, due to concerns over the possible impact of the farm on wild salmonids and as it would encroach on the “disease management zone” of existing farms in the area.

Other objections relate to plans to install 32 acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) around the farm – although these are designed to deter potential predators such as seals, they are thought to have negative impacts on cetaceans such as dolphins and porpoises that are beneficial to the island’s eco-tourism industry.