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Planners give salmon farmer green light for expansion

SSF will replace nine 80m pens with 14 x 100m pens at Dunstaffnage. Photo: SSF.
SSF will replace nine 80m pens with 14 x 100m pens at Dunstaffnage. Photo: SSF.

Scotland’s second biggest salmon farmer, Scottish Sea Farms, has won planning permission to expand its salmon farm at Dunstaffnage, near Oban.

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee approved the expansion application last week.

SSF already had permission from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to increase the maximum allowed biomass at the site from 1,300 tonnes to 2,350 tonnes.

The company intends to replace the nine 80-metre circumference pens on the site with 14 cages with a circumference of 100m.

Objections and support

The Oban Times reported that there had been 27 objections to the expansion and 25 expressions of support.

During the planning committee meeting, Green Party councillor Luna Martin voiced concerns that hydrogen peroxide used to treat farmed salmon could be accidentally consumed by wild swimmers.

In response, council planning officer Peter Bain said that in order to be exposed to a level of risk likely to impact adversely on human health, a number of factors would need to come into play “and it is unlikely they would”.

Bain added: “Somebody would need to be within the extent of the boundaries where people should not be wild swimming anyway as there are hazards in that area.”

High survival

Innes Weir, SSF’s regional manager for mainland, said: “Dunstaffnage is consistently one of our best performing farms: from its high survival and the superior condition of the fish grown, to its excellent environmental performance. So, it’s hugely rewarding to see the team’s hard work and diligence recognised, with the proposal to expand the existing farm approved.

“Of course, there’s nothing quite like being out on a farm to see first-hand the team’s passion and skill, which is why we are always happy to host visits from interested stakeholders.”