Save Our Seals Fund have objected to plans for a large salmon farm operation in picturesque Seil Sound near Oban. John Robins of SOSF said, “Yet again someone wants to build a floating factory fish farm on the cheap without using proper predator exclusion nets to keep seals away from the salmon stocks. It is just not good enough.”
Peter Millar Esq.
Marine Licensing Officer
Marine Planning & Policy
Licensing Operations Team,
375 Victoria Road,
Aberdeen AB11 9DB
Salmon Farm Application FKB/M94 Meridian Salmon Farms (Argyll) Ltd.
Dear Mr. Millar,
Thank you for sending me some information concerning the above application.
Save Our Seals Fund hereby lodges an objection to Application FKB/M94 by Meridian Salmon Farms (Argyll) Ltd. for permission to site an extensive intensive salmon farming operation at Port n Morachd in Seil Sound Argyll.
This application fails to meet the legal requirement under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 which obliges salmon farmers to protect their stock from predators. Under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 salmon farmers must not only protect their stock from physical attack by seals, they must also protect them from the stress and fear caused by allowing seals or other predators to come close to the salmon.
Shooting seals under Government license does meet the legal requirements of the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 as it is impossible to shoot all seals which approach the salmon cages. To do so shooters would have to be able to shoot safely and accurately at night and in all weather conditions including fog and storms. They would also have to be able to shoot an unlimited number of seals as, should they reach the quotas allowed under their Government license, they could no longer protect their stock from the attention of seals. Acoustic deterrent devices are not 100% effective in keeping seals away from salmon farms.
The only way salmon in a marine cage farm can be fully protected from the attention of seals is by the proper installation and maintenance of high-strength, tensioned predator exclusion nets fitted in such a way as to ensure seals cannot approach the inner cage nets. Regretfully only 13% of salmon farmers in Scotland have proven willing to invest the money required to purchase the equipment and employ the staff required to physically exclude seals from approaching the cages holding their salmon stocks. This situation will only change if planning authorities insist on the use of predator exclusion nets before granting permissions for marine fin fish farms.
We ask you to refuse this application on the grounds that by failing to include predator exclusion nets in the farm design the applicants cannot meet their legal duty to protect the welfare of their stock under the Animal Health & Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006.
John F. Robins,
Save Our Seals Fund