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Saturday, July 20, 2024

MSP Welcomes Feed Barge Climb Down

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Ariane Burgess, the Scottish Green MSP for the Highlands & Islands, has today welcomed the decision by Mowi to withdraw its plans for a feed barge on Loch Broom following community outcry about the plans.

Ms Burgess, who submitted an objection to the plans and highlighted claims that Mowi and its subsidiary Wester Ross Fisheries had been misleading locals about their proposals, said:

“This is a victory for local residents who raised valid concerns about the potential impacts on the marine environment, wildlife, fishing industry livelihoods and amenity of the area.

“When I visited Ullapool recently, I spoke with many worried about the around-the-clock noise, light pollution, marine plastics and increased risk of sea lice that this barge could bring.

“A new large-scale feeding operation could have significant additional impacts such as excess micro-plastics getting into Marine Protected Areas that are home to priority species like horse mussels, flame shells and native oysters.

“Further pollution, including from chemicals used to treat sea lice, could completely undermine the community’s crucial efforts to restore Loch Broom’s once thriving oyster populations.

“This withdrawal is a common-sense decision.

“Salmon farming’s role in the rural economy cannot come at the expense of iconic wildlife and marine ecosystems that underpin other key industries like fishing and tourism.

“I trust the company will now work constructively with all stakeholders on any future redevelopment plans to ensure they are environmentally and socially sustainable.

“Ultimately, this episode underscores why robust, well-resourced environmental advice and enforcement is so crucial – cutting corners ultimately benefits no one in rural communities weighing different interests.”

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