Loch Long Salmon wants to site a floating closed containment salmon farm close to the eatern shore of Loch Linnhe.

Loch Long Salmon takes next step towards 8,000-tonne fish farm

Notice to council kicks off formal consultation process over floating closed containment facility at Loch Linnhe


Loch Long Salmon has moved forward with its proposed 8,000-tonnes-per-year floating closed containment salmon farm on Loch Linnhe by submitting a Proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) notice to Argyll & Bute Council.

The company is also holding formal public consultation events in the communities of Duror & Kentallen and Appin. Loch Long Salmon proposes to site the farm near Lurignish cattle farm, nearby.

The events will be held at Duror & Kentallen Community Centre on 14 September and Appin Village Hall on 24 October. Both will run from 2pm until 7pm.

Eight farming enclosures

The marine infrastructure for the proposed fish farm, which would be Scotland’s biggest in terms of production volume, would include eight closed farming enclosures measuring approximately 50 metres in diameter, which is around the same size as the 160-metre circumference conventional net pens now being used by some salmon farmers in Scotland.

The site would also have two freshwater holding units, and a closed harvest enclosure. The shore base would be located adjacent to the marine infrastructure, approximately half a kilometre west of Lurignish Farm.

Loch Long Salmon (LLS) managing director Stewart Hawthorn said: “We have already met with many local people as we have been developing our proposal for this location. I am proud to be bringing this approach to Scotland as we seek to address environmental and fish welfare concerns regarding the salmon farming sector in Scotland.”

'No lice or predation'

From the surface the “containment at sea farm”, as LLS prefers to call floating closed containment, would look similar to a conventional salmon farm, but underneath the water the net is surrounded by an impermeable membrane, with water drawn up and circulated from deeper in the loch.

Inaction is no longer an option; we must act urgently and embrace change if we are to make a positive difference.

LLS managing director
Stewart Hawthorn

Closed containment has been shown to remove problems caused by sea lice and predatory seals, so LLS won’t need to use lice treatments. The company says that hundreds of production cycles using floating closed containment in other countries have also taken place with no escapes, addressing a further concern around the aquaculture sector.

The impermeable barrier captures around 80-85% of fish faeces and uneaten feed, and this can be used in green energy production or as a fertiliser ingredient.

'Embrace change'

“Delivering low carbon, low environmental impact food is one of the key global challenges we face as a society,” said Hawthorn. “We must bring this technology to Scotland quickly, so we are part of the solution to man-made climate change and to address more local environmental and fish welfare concerns. Inaction is no longer an option; we must act urgently and embrace change if we are to make a positive difference.

“I hope as many people as possible will come along to the next two events now that the formal planning application process has started so we can explain how transformative and proven closed containment at sea salmon farming could bring jobs and investment to the community, while addressing the environmental concerns some people have.”

LLS said it is not pursuing plans for another site on Loch Linnhe, at Balnagowan, and has withdrawn a lease option agreement with Crown Estate Scotland.

Loch Long appeal

Meanwhile, an appeal against a decision by Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park board to refuse permission for LLS to establish a closed containment salmon farm at Beinn Reithe, Loch Long, is ongoing.

David Liddell, a reporter with the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division, has been appointed to examine the case, and hearing and inquiry sessions will take place from Monday, 25 September until Thursday, 28 September, to hear evidence.

The sessions will take place in the Three Villages Hall, Arrochar. Further sessions will take place the following week if required.

LLS wants to site four floating 140-metre circumference enclosures in Loch Long, together with a fifth enclosure to be used as a harvest pen. The company has been granted a Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) licence from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to farm up to 3,452 tonnes of fish at Beinn Reithe.