An Ardentinny Community Council meeting has been announced to discuss the proposed Dawnfresh Ardentinny Trout Farm which is currently at the Environmental Impact Assessment screening stage (EIA) with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. An outline leaflet produced by Dawnfresh on the proposed trout farm has been posted on the village notice board.
According to the planning documents submitted to the National Park, the fish farm would be located on the outskirts of Ardentinny in Loch Long, south of the village and Ravenrock Lighthouse. The installation would consist of 10 – 38m diameter circular pens in a 5 x 2 configuration, placed in a 80m x 80m mooring matrix. The site would be serviced by a feed barge on the shore side holding at least 200T of feed. The location of the shore base in or around Ardentinny is yet to be decided.
The Ardentinny site is one of four proposed fish farms in the Clyde area. The other locations being Bute, Great Cumbrae and Little Cumbrae.
As part of the Ardentinny project, Dawnfresh proposes to service the site daily by boat from a shore base at Ardentinny and to employ a local workforce of six. The shore base may include office facilities, storage shed and access to the shore. Site boats will be located close to the shore base either at a pontoon or moorings.
The site will operate 7 days a week and fish stock will be delivered to the farm by wellboat. Stock will be grown on in the first year and will be harvested in the second year on an ongoing basis. Harvests will be undertaken by wellboat, initially using mobile harvesting equipment, at a yet to be determined nearby port.
A video survey has been undertaken beneath the proposed site and the results will be analysed and presented in the final planning application. An application has been submitted to Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to confirm that the proposed biomass is within the carrying capacity of the area.
As part of the EIA screening application, Dawnfresh has addressed “Interaction with predators”. The report mentions that “Marine fish farms can experience considerable losses to predators if a predator identifies the farm as a viable food source”. Tensioned square mesh (30mm) top nets will be used to prevent predation by birds. The application also mentions that “Seals are initially attracted to a farm to graze on fallen stock and then move on to attack livestock. As a result, an attack has the potential to impact many thousands of fish and cause enormous stress on the rest of the fish population”.
In order to mitigate this, a daily collection of mortalities along with seal blinds (fine mesh) is envisaged. The application continues.. “If highly tensioned nets and daily removal of mortalities proves to be ineffective in deterring seals and in the event of full enclosure predator nets being inappropriate for use at this site Dawnfresh will consider the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs)”. “It is accepted that it may not be possible to totally eliminate predation by seals. Should mitigation measures be insufficient to protect fish stocks, Dawnfresh will consider the humane dispatch of a rogue seal”.
Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
The application states that “Dawnfresh will undertake a full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) in support on the proposed site. Photomontages will be prepared from key viewpoints which will be identified based on advice from our chosen landscape architect and further advised by SNH and the Planning Authority”.
The company also states that it’s an active supporter of community engagement, in particular supporting beach cleans and providing staff and boats to assist in these operations as well as supporting community groups, organisations and events.
Construction of the proposed trout farm is estimated to take between two to three weeks.
Our local MSP and Ward Councillors were invited to comment on the proposal. Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations and MSP for Argyll and Bute, Mike Russell, considered that the key issues would be environmental pollution and escapes and what assurances are in place for these. He said “Given it is in the National Park, the guarantees would require to be cast iron in terms of technology for escapes and monitoring of environmental discharges.” Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said she would listen to the views expressed by all of her constituents, after community consultation.
The Community Council Meeting will take place in Ardentinny Village Hall on Monday 11 March at 7pm. All are welcome.
EIA Screening documents for installation of fish farm (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – Planning)
Dawnfresh corporate website
Friends of Loch Etive
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