Industry body Salmon Scotland has criticised the “failure to put people, their livelihoods and their wellbeing first” after Mowi’s request to extend its existing Loch Hourn site in Scotland was narrowly rejected.
Mowi had requested permission to increase production by 10% but, after a campaign from a group called Friends of Loch Hourn, local councillors refused the application. Campaigners celebrated this decision, calling it a victory in the “battle to protect wild fish populations.
However, Mowi criticised the decision, claiming the refusal came despite “no objections from all statutory science bodies and that the planning officials had recommended the application for approval.”
“Mowi has become the latest victim of a vocal and vociferous anti-salmon farming
lobby at Loch Hourn,” Tavish Scott, the Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said.
“Neither Skye or Loch Hourn decisions were based on legitimate planning considerations,
evidence or science: no statutory objections were received to either of the proposals from
Mowi or Organic Sea Harvest. Council planners, too, had initially recommended approval.
This is an unacceptable drag on the local economy and runs counter to Scottish Government assessments underling the jobs created across the county by farm development,” Scott added.
“Our members have often found that so-called environmental groups purporting to be in
favour of protecting wild salmon or the marine environment are in fact lone wolf activists.
Far from speaking up on behalf of the wider community, some don’t even have a home
there and are fundamentally opposed to the salmon farming sector,” the Salmon Scotland boss stated.
“Aquaculture has been, and continues to be, a force for good for our most fragile coastal communities across the Highlands and islands. Salmon Scotland wants rural Scotland to thrive and be a place where people want to raise young families with the prospect of well-paid, highly-skilled jobs. Without support for these developments, these areas risk become economically inactive – nothing more than a playground for the rich, with local people priced out,” Salmon Scotland warned.