The farm would be one of the next generation of “open sea” farms that have been being developed by the company off Barra, the Isle of Muck and Colonsay since 2009.
As Ben Hadfield, Managing Director for Marine Harvest Scotland, explained: “Demand for our product continues to grow and farmed salmon is one of Scotland’s top exports. We have been successful in developing these open sea farms and this has created jobs in some of the most fragile rural economies in Scotland. Discussions with the local community on Rum so far have been very positive and we are delighted that they support our plans.”
Marine Harvest Scotland have submitted details to the council asking for their initial views on the project and what work will be required to prepare a full planning application. Known as a Scoping Request, this starts the planning process and is followed by a public consultation programme.
Marine Harvest have already held an information open day on the island and have been discussing the plans with the Isle of Rum Community Trust, the Isle of Rum Community Association and local commercial fishermen. Local people, members of the Community Trust and representatives from Scottish Natural Heritage have also visited the Marine Harvest farm on neighbouring Muck to find out more about how it operates.
The salmon farm on the Isle of Muck has created ten new jobs on the island with new homes built to accommodate some of the farm staff. If the application for the Rum farm is successful ten more jobs would be created, including a farm manager and two assistant farm managers, and Marine Harvest plans to build new homes and a shore base at Kinloch.
Ben Hadfield added: “Our aim is to create a thriving and sustainable industry with a long term future and this new farm will make a significant contribution. Working with the local community is key to successfully developing a project such as this and we look forward to continuing to discuss the plans with them and hearing their views.”