Proposed Scottish trout farm axed following discovery of rare marine species
The discovery of a variety of rare marine species in Scotland’s Sound of Jura has prompted Kames Fish Farming Limited to table its plans to construct a sizeable fish farm in the area, according to a report from Herald Scotland.
An underwater survey conducted by public body Scottish Natural Heritage uncovered evidence of rare northern sea fans – among other scarce species – living in the sea beds along the shoreline of Dounie, Scotland, directly below where Kames intended to construct a dozen circular cages for farming around one million fish, predominantly rainbow trout. Faced with the results of the underwater survey, the family-run aquaculture business swiftly withdrew its fish farm proposal from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
The proposal had been met with opposition from conservation groups, including The Friends of the Sound of Jura (FoSoJ), as well as nearby residents and watersport enthusiasts, who were concerned about what the farm would mean environmentally and logistically for the region.
“We have always maintained that this industrial-sized fish farm should have no place within a Marine Protected Area,” FoSoJ spokesman Mark Smith told the Herald Scotland. “The wildlife of the sound includes the rare flapper skate, porpoises, otters and seals, as well as smaller rarities like the northern sea fan.”
Kames Fish Farming Managing Director Limited Stuart Cannon noted the company’s willingness to listen to locals’ concerns and to comply with directions from authorities for all business developments.
“We have been in production for 45 years, and are not going to suddenly pollute the whole of the sound. We do listen to local concerns and we will comply with whatever the authorities tell us,” Cannon told the newspaper.
The Kames proposal has emerged during a time when the Scottish Government has placed greater emphasis on fish farming. The country intends to double its production of farmed salmon by 2030, officials have vowed. Currently, Scotland's aquaculture industry generates an annual GBP 1.86 billion (USD 2.56 billion, EUR 2.09 billion) for the economy, according to the Herald Scotland.