Work is to begin on the largest tidal energy project in Europe after the Scottish government granted permission.
MeyGen is to install the tidal array in stages in the Pentland Firth, between Orkney and the Scottish mainland.
It will begin with a 9MW demonstration project of up to six turbines, with construction expected to take place on a phased basis until 2020.
When fully operational, the 86MW array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 42,000 homes.
ASFB objected to this development on the basis that there is considerable uncertainty around the possible effects of the development on migratory fish. Whilst we have no wish to unnecesarily prevent or delay such developments, it is important to recognise that the Pentland Firth is a key area for the migration of Scottish Atlantic salmon and such developments have the potential to impact upon a large proportion of Scotland’s Atlantic salmon SAC rivers. Very little is known about the migratory behavior or swimming characteristics of Atlantic salmon in Scottish coastal waters. We recognise that a phased approach may allow any potential negative effects to be identified and therefore we would empahsise the importance of adequate site-specific monitoring, which should be developed in full consultation with wild fisheries interests. It is also vital that strategic research currently being scoped by Marine Scotland Science is fully funded and initiated as soon as possible.