“My kids and I have picked up the debris from this disintegrating farm regularly, but we can’t deal with the beads; nor should we have to.”
The shores of Loch Broom are facing a growing environmental threat due to plastic pollution from neglected salmon pens, according to locals.
Local resident and activist Ailsa McLellan has voiced her frustration with Mowi Scotland and Wester Ross Fisheries.
She said the fish farm site in question has been “empty since the summer” but despite months of relatively calm weather in the interim, action has not been taken to remove the empty pens.
McLellan took to Twitter, showcasing recent images of the persisting debris and polystyrene beads. Despite some cleanup efforts, the issue of the beads remains unresolved, with concerns that upcoming winter storms could worsen the situation.
The post has been viewed more than 10,000 times and shared 52 times as of Wednesday.
🧵1/3 Derelict salmon farm + red wind = masses of polystyrene beads all over the beach as per. There were less ropes, pipes+buoys than usual, maybe they have managed to secure the bigger stuff, but they cant stop the ancient flotation abrading into the environment. pic.twitter.com/LSfv9VueVv
— Ailsa McLellan (@AilsaMcL) December 18, 2023
Responding to the outcry, Mowi Scotland admitted the urgency of the matter and has initiated plans to dismantle and safely dispose of the old equipment, pledging to donate salvaged lumber to local projects.
“We share the concerns regarding old, outdated equipment that contains exposed polystyrene and is why we have quickly initiated a plan to safely dismantle and properly dispose of it,” a spokesperson for Mowi said. “To ensure minimal impact to the environment, we have taken the required time and worked around numerous autumn storms to properly handle and dispose of materials and/or donate salvaged lumber to local community projects.”
Jonathan Farmer, standards and quality officer with Wester Ross Salmon added: “We have engaged directly with the lead campaigner to update our progress to dispose of old equipment and to advise of our actions to regularly monitor and clean up any stray materials along the beach, whether related to this project or not. We will continue to be vigilant.”