Arran Banner letters – week 15

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Salmon Q&A will be held

Sir,

The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has had a long-term presence on Arran stretching back over three decades. Our Lamlash Bay site was one of the first fish farms in Scotland and our commitment to local sourcing, investment and engagement has helped underpin Arran’s economy and community.

During this time, Scottish salmon has grown into an international success story, boosting Scotland’s renowned reputation as a land of high-quality food and drink which, in turn, continues to drive demand in our sector.  SSC’s own growth in recent years, of which Arran has played an important part, has been because of the focus we place on our core values of pride, passion and provenance.

This has led to our proposal to develop our operations on Arran with a new site off the North East coast near Lochranza and which will bring further benefits to the island.  We will look to recruit up to 10 full-time members of staff for this new site. It will support a further 41 jobs in our Scottish supply chain, plus 10 more in the wider Scottish economy, while adding £8-10 million of value to the economy annually.  This proposal also has innovation at its heart and has been designed to ensure robust fish health and welfare and environmental sustainability.

We knew our proposals would generate discussion and debate. With that in mind, I want to thank the dozens of residents from across the island who visited our public consultation event at Lochranza Village Hall last week. These residents engaged constructively with the 22 assembled project team members from SSC and three other companies to ask questions and learn more about our proposals. We are still in the early stages of this project and this feedback, combined with the views of other stakeholders like North Ayrshire Council, SEPA, Marine Scotland and others, will be crucial in determining its final shape.

We take our commitment to Arran’s residents seriously. That is why we will be hosting a second public consultation event in Brodick in May to give the community a further opportunity to learn about our plans. During this open event, time will be set aside for a structured Q&A with project representatives. Dates and times for this event are still being finalised but will be communicated in due course.

In the meantime, please visit www.scottishsalmon.com/community/projects-and-developments to learn more about our proposals. We also invite anyone to share any thoughts or questions about the project at any time by sending an email to  arran@scottishsalmon.com.

Yours,

 Craig Anderson,

Chief executive,

The Scottish Salmon Company.

Gangway use

Sir,

The very comprehensive article on pg7 of last week’s Banner highlights – among other items – the lack of a problem solving customer service attitude. The frequent resort to use of the ‘Irish Berth’ at Ardrossan, results in foot passengers using the car deck, delays to turn around time, and missed train connections.

It was recently suggested that the now redundant gangway from Brodick could be used to deal with this problem; response was that it was ‘past its sell by date’.

East wind is apparently the cause for using the alternative berth. The ‘knock on’ effect of this practice seems a matter of indifference to Calmac. ‘Where there is a will, there is a way?’

Yours,

Robert Kerr,

Lochranza.

Ticking boxes

Sir,

Readers will know of my connection with the Arran Community Council, COAST and Lamlash Golf Club.

I travelled to the advertised Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) consultation exercise in Lochranza village hall on Tuesday April 2 as an individual and resident of the island (born and bred).

The SSC have achieved their aim of holding a public consultation to tick boxes for their planning application of the proposed new salmon mega-farm located near the Fallen Rocks, between Lochranza and Sannox.

Their claims of economic benefit, employment, records of environment success, really have to be taken with a large slice of caution.

The present fish farm in Lamlash was begun locally, purchased by Marine Harvest then Lighthouse Caledonia and now known as Scottish Salmon Company. Their history of promises, regarding employment, fish welfare, protection of wild salmon and environmental health and safety does not stand up to examination.

An independent visitor to one of the Western Isle fish farms run by the SSC recorded and photographed an extremely large number of salmon affected by sea lice. Yet within a few days later a government inspector reported that the same fish farm had acceptable numbers of mortality, with salmon showing effects of lice and reported that they only saw ‘100 fish with observable sea lice damage (in the worst affected cage)’.

As a matter of interest according to freedom of information the Lamlash fish farm in 2018 had a biomass of 3,909 tonnes. The mortality figure was 44.138 tonnes.

Including the two Carradale sites the mortality rate for the three fish farms was 392.78 tonnes.

The consultation video and documentation, which had almost 20 of the SSC employees attending, did not express the well-known majority view of the community.  They refused to answer public questions or make any public statement. One of the documents I read was misleading as based on my personal knowledge only one of the facts they claimed, to support their proposal, was accurate.

An exit poll was taken by a COAST volunteer, as a guideline the overwhelming view of the people who attended the consultation was against the proposed fish farm.

From the sheet, which I signed, the result was 89 per cent against the proposal with 10 per cent ticking the undecided box and 1 per cent for the farm.

So when the planning application for the fish farm is registered with NAC if the island residents and tourists are still against the proposal it is most important that you write and register your objection on environmental grounds and the impact on the island tourism.

Yours,

Jim Henderson,

Lamlash.