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Industry: no imminent plans for super-sized salmon farm

A salmon farm in Vidlin voe. Although technological developments may make it possible in the future, the industry says there are no imminent plans for a huge salmon farm.

THERE are no current plans for the “world’s biggest salmon farm” to be sited in the waters around Shetland according to the local industry.

At the weekend, the Sunday Herald reported that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) had privately considered proposals for a 6,000 to 8,000 tonnes mega-salmon farm in the waters of the Northern Isles.

However, these proposals were only ever discussed behind the scenes, with no application submitted.

Scottish Sea Farms managing director Jim Gallagher confirmed that the company had proposed a site location that “could be used to demonstrate an alternative approach to how fish farms are regulated and operated today”.

“At the heart of the proposal was the willingness from the industry to invest in innovation, latest technology and infrastructure to allow aquaculture to be more competitive, improve sustainability both environmentally and economically,” he said.

The prize for Scotland was increased jobs, further investment with suppliers in Scotland and the development of modelling to inform improved environmental performance and regulation.

On Monday Grant Cumming, managing director of the isles’ largest salmon producer Grieg Seafood Shetland, said salmon farming sites of that dimension were currently not achievable in Scotland.

“We have no plans to open any sites that are larger than currently allowed. We have not entered into discussion with SEPA about doing that,” he said.

“It is something that the future may hold, but I would imagine that we are looking at offshore sites in very deep and very open waters.

“This is not something that Grieg has been actively pursuing, I am not saying that this might not be something for the future but it needs a technological development to make it doable.”