Sunday, January 19, 2020
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A petition against planned fish farms in the Trotternish area has been formed.

At the time of writing, the petition has just over 800 signatures from those opposed to the proposed fish farms on the coast of Flodigarry and Balmaqueen.

Organic Sea Harvest plan to establish four new sites dedicated to growing organic salmon off the north east coast of Skye.  They have said each farm will have a maximum consent of 2,500 tons and plan to use Staffin pier as a service base. 

The petition addresses concerns over potential harm to cetaceans, sea mammals, bird and fish life.  

The petitions stated: "Pollution through siltation from the proposed farms is worrying causing unnatural and concentrated damage to the seabed and fossil beds of the area.

"Acoustic Deterrent Devices adds to underwater noise pollutions which is known to cause behavioural problems in marine mammals. They affect various types of cetaceans that are sensitive to the noise and these effects could be fatal.

"Concerns over smell, particularly with an onshore wind direction, will be unpleasant to not only the local population, but also any visitors, potentially having a negative impact on returning visits, especially when the inevitable salmon deaths occur as seen all too regularly on fish farms around Skye

"The special qualities and natural beauty this part of the island has to offer does not only aid the well-being of residents, but from an economic perspective, this area contributes greatly for the increase in popularity of the Island’s main industry - Tourism."

Organic Sea Harvest originator, Alex Macinnes, told Skye Times Online: "There have been several open days on all of our proposals with public consultation and feedback, wide media attention both tabloid and televised.

"Locally in the main we have been working in partnership with the Staffin Community Trust as our plans have developed over the last several years.

"Environmental Impact Assessments are made under the Town & Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2011. An Environmental Statement is always submitted in support of the planning application and covers; benthic impacts, water column impacts, interaction with predators, impacts on wild salmonids, priority species, habitats and sensitive sites, navigation and anchorage, commercial fishing, landscape, seascape, visual impacts, noise, light, waste management, socioeconomic, access and recreation, traffic and transport.

"In respect of landscape, seascape and visual impacts, these are key determining issues for any of the planning applications and OSH have delivered a very detailed and comprehensive document in this respect."

The petition can be viewed here.

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