The Sleat Community Council chaired a public meeting on 11th June at Sabhal Mor Ostaig where a number of speakers gave presentations on the forthcoming proposals to establish three new fish farm sites in Lochs Slapin and Eishort. The meeting was a follow-up to a public session held in 2013 when it was first known that Hjaltland Sea Farms of Shetland had applied for new aquaculture sites in our area. Roddy Murray introduced Eileen Armstrong who gave a detailed presentation on the proposal which included a specific report on the current Planning Application for a site at Loch Slapin, just north of Rubha Suisnish that is lodged with Highland Council under e Planning 14/01467/FUL. Public consultations for this application close on 20th of June. Dr James Merryweather followed with a very comprehensive briefing on the environmental effects that fish farm have on water systems and the concept of land-based fish farm sites which, although more expensive to establish, provide no threat to the environment including bio-diversity and wild fish stocks. Finally Peter Cunningham of the Wester Ross Fisheries Trust gave a highly informative and entertaining presentation on the changes that have taken place for wild fish across Scotland’s coasts in recent years, with particular emphasis on the effects of sea-lice in fish farms.
More than 35 people attended the meeting and heard further from Mrs Armstrong on the expected two applications from Hjlatland for sites between Tokavaig/Tarskavaig and Suisnish/Boreraig opposite Ord. The meeting was informed on how submissions can be made to the Highland Council either in favour of these proposals or objecting to them. The Community Council website has a page for Aquaculture Planning Applications and this can be found at: http://www.sleatcommunitycouncil.org.uk/aquacultureplanningapplications.asp
To assist residents in making a view on the applications there are two documents available on that web page and are entitled ‘Considerations’ and ‘How to Comment’.
The issue of aquaculture development across Scotland is an issue that has many arguments for and against, including economic benefits as again environmental damage. The Community Council has a key role to play in facilitating presentations such as mentioned above and if you should need further information please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org