Arran Banner letters – week 45

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Escapes hardly rare

Sir,

The Scottish Salmon Company in its plethora of data in support of its application for a North Arran salmon farm claims that: Escape events are very rare, and have only occurred three times in the past two decades at fish farms local to the Firth of Clyde

Data from www.aquaculture.scotland.gov.uk shows that between 2000-2020 from the 17 salmon farms, no less than 196,309 salmon escaped in the Clyde, including 64,848 in total from two breakouts from the Mowi farm at North Carradale in Kilbrannan Sound, close to the North Arran proposed site.


Both locations are a high energy area for tides, wind, and waves, and hence prone to storm damage. The other 15 salmon farms in the Clyde have lost in total 131,461 salmon over 20 years. These 15, owned by Scottish Salmon Company since its formation in 2009, have reported 64,287 fish lost to escapes since that date. Hardly rare and hardly small in number. In fact the Scottish Salmon Company, since its formation in 2009, around the west of Scotland have had 117,690 farmed salmon escape, from as far away as Isle of Lewis, Isle of Harris, Mull, as well as the Clyde farms.

Does this all matter – surely it is a benefit for salmon anglers? Well, no! These escaped fish are genetically different, compromised by weakness and disease, and there is clear evidence that they have contributed to the inexorable decline in our wild salmonid populations, no longer often seen in the famous fast running West Coast salmon rivers of Scotland, including Arran.

Yours,

Sally Campbell,
Lamlash.


Animal welfare memorial

Sir,

Devika Rosamund and John Campbell (Letters, October 23) express concern around the adverse impact of fish farming with scholarly clarity.

A monument in central Belfast celebrates the work of a Victorian animal rights activist, who sought to fix fresh drinking water for animals being traded in city markets.

The Francis Calder memorial carries the inscription: ‘A Righteous man regarded the life of his beast’. What we are surely seeing in the pandemic crisis is an exposure of a huge range of cruelties; where people, the environment and animals all suffer as a result of naked human greed. Perhaps a Tory government, suddenly turned socialist in its fiscal policies, will herald in a new a dawn?

The conversion of Boris Johnson to left-wing philanthropy and kind regard for the poor, might make the Damascus Road story sound a great deal more plausible. Attention to environmental and animal welfare issues can only be a good thing, because contempt for animals and the environment is often connected with savage cruelty to vulnerable people.

Yours,

Dr James Hardy,
Belfast.

Hunting for hat

Sir,

A slightly unusual request from me. Around 25 years ago I bought the hat featured in the photograph attached while I was on holiday on Arran. Since then I have worn it all over the world and it never fails to get commented on and is still the warmest hat I’ve ever known. Skiing, hiking, hillwalking, there was nothing like it…

Unfortunately I lost it on the West Highland Way last week and hopefully whoever found it gets good use out of it as I have. All I know was that the label said ‘hand knitted on Arran by Cathy’ and I bought it in a small outlet.

I just wanted to let Cathy know if she is still around just how much I loved wearing that hat and if she is still knitting, I’d be happy to buy another!

Yours.

Dr George Baxter,
Edinburgh.