Fisheries Management Scotland Respond to Mowi’s North Kilbrannan Sound Salmon Farm

Read the full response here.

Summary of Objection

Scotland’s wild salmon and sea trout are at crisis point with many populations, particularly on the West Coast within the ‘Aquaculture zone’, below conservation limits. Whilst wild salmon face a range of pressures, specific pressures from the aquaculture industry include impacts from escapes and sea lice.

Mowi have had three major escapes in the last year all at high energy sites like the one proposed. In the light of these incidents, we do not consider that Mowi have demonstrated their ability to maintain farmed fish within their production facilities. Fish which recently escaped from Mowi’s nearby North Carradale site have shown up in around 15 different rivers across the West Coast of Scotland and North-West England. The full environmental and economic impact of this escape is not yet clear, and the results of work designed to quantify any genetic impact on wild salmon arising from the escape will not be known for at least 12 months.

Sea lice arising from fish farms have the potential to negatively impact wild salmon. Even if the farm manages sea lice to the extent described in the application, up to 250,000 additional sea lice will be present on the likely migratory path that wild salmon take from numerous rivers in Loch Fyne, West Arran and East Kintyre and possibly the Kyles of Bute and the Clyde Estuary.

Given the concerns stated above the precautionary principle should be followed and we object to this development for the following reasons:

  1. The current planning and regulatory system does not sufficiently protect wild fish and a new regulatory system, as recommended by the Salmon Interactions Working Group, should be put in place prior to any growth in consented biomass
  2. Recent history of escapes in high energy locations which offers no assurance of containment in the pens for the new proposal
  3. The conservation status of local salmon populations which may suffer permanent adverse damage from aquaculture related additional pressures.
  4. This farm sits on a likely migratory path for wild salmon from numerous rivers in Loch Fyne, West Arran and East Kintyre and possibly the Kyles of Bute and the Clyde Estuary, increasing the potential for negative interactions.