Loch Long Salmon taking another stab at closed-containment salmon farm in Scotland

The Loch Linnhe location that Loch Long Salmon hopes to use for a closed containment salmon farm.

Loch Long Salmon, the company behind rejected plans to introduce Scotland’s first semi-closed containment salmon farm, has submitted proposals for a closed-containment, at-sea salmon farm near Lurignish cattle farm on Loch Linnhe.

The company first submitted plans to bring a salmon farm to Loch Long, an inlet near Glasgow, Scotland. Officials representing the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park ultimately opposed the plan, however.

The company has now announced its plans to hold community meetings on a proposal for a similar farm plan in Loch Linnhe, north of Oban – and north of the original site.

“Loch Long Salmon wants to bring new jobs and investment to Argyll, securing the future of one of the most important parts of Scotland’s rural economy while addressing these concerns,” the company said of the new proposal.

The company stated it is planning to build eight closed farming enclosures, each measuring 50 meters in diameter, along with two freshwater holding units and a closed harvest enclosure. A shore base would also be near the farm, the company said.

“We have already met with many local people as we have been developing our proposal for this location. I am proud to be bringing this approach to Scotland as we seek to address environmental and fish welfare concerns regarding the salmon-farming sector in Scotland,” Loch Long Salmon Managing Director Stewart Hawthorn said of the project.

The new location will also use the closed-containment technology the company was planning to use at the Loch Long site. From the surface, the company said, it would appear to be a normal aquaculture site, but below the water, an impermeable membrane would enclose the net pens. The goal of the enclosure is to minimize impacts on the environment while also removing the threat of sea lice and attacks by seals. 

“Delivering low-carbon, low-environmental-impact food is one of the key global challenges we face as a society,” Hawthorn said. “We must bring this technology to Scotland quickly so we are part of the solution to man-made climate change and to address more local environmental and fish welfare concerns. Inaction is no longer an option; we must act urgently and embrace change if we are to make a positive difference.”

The company hasn’t completely given up on its Loch Long plans. The company confirmed in February 2023 that it submitted an appeal for the rejected project.

“We believe the National Park’s decision to prevent this proven, transformative technology being brought to Scotland for the first time was based on fear and a lack of knowledge and understanding,” Hawthorn said. “The National Park has no experience of handling this kind of application, and rather than listening to experts such as NatureScot, SEPA, and Forestry & Land Scotland, who all said the project could go ahead, they based their view on a misunderstanding that our plans were the same as existing open-net salmon farms. This [thinking] is fundamentally flawed.”

The company confirmed that it is not pursuing plans for a site at Balnagowan on Loch Linnhe and that the company withdrew a lease option agreement there to solely pursue its plans for the Lurignish site instead.  


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