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Marine / ‘Real milestone’ reached as plans lodged for large salmon farm

The area where the salmon farm could be located. Photo: Scottish Sea Farms

SCOTTISH Sea Farms says its proposed large new salmon farm in Shetland would be a development which “balances technical feasibility, food production potential and environmental impact”.

It has now submitted a full planning application for its £4 million-plus Billy Baa project, which would be located at the entrance to Weisdale Voe.

It would feature nine 160m pens and one 120m pen.

The company proposes to consolidate existing fallow farms in the area into the single Billy Baa development. The plan could create more than six new jobs, the company said.

The salmon farm would be supported from Scottish Sea Farms’ existing South Whiteness shorebase.

It comes as Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands MSP Ariane Burgess continues to express concern about the salmon farm industry in Scotland.

Her party has called for a moratorium on salmon farm expansion until “environmental and welfare impacts are significantly reduced to an acceptable level”.

Burgess recently wrote to rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon asking for an update on progress towards commitments made on aquaculture in the Scottish Government’s Bute House Agreement with the Green party.

Billy Baa is one of two new salmon farms proposed in Shetland, with the other being a Cooke Aquaculture development off Vementry.

Pre-application consultations have been undertaken regarding both.

In a planning statement for Billy Baa, Scottish Sea Farms said an environmental impact assessment “demonstrates that the development will not result in significant unacceptable adverse effects, whether individually or cumulatively on the environment”.

The company also said it undertook a “robust” site selection process and sought feedback from interested parties.

It said that the overall area lost to fishermen “is not considered to be significant”, with nearly 150,000 square metres technically gained in the area through consolidation of farms.

Scottish Sea Farms head of sustainability and development Anne Anderson said: “A tremendous amount of work has gone into getting our application to this stage: from the science involved in determining the best farming location to the modelling undertaken to accurately assess how the proposed new farm would integrate into its surrounding environment.

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“So it feels like a real milestone to have now submitted our formal planning application for consideration by Shetland Islands Council and community alike.

“If approved, the new farm will take us another important step forward in our drive to consolidate our existing estate into a smaller number of sites, each offering the best growing conditions for our fish.”

Meanwhile because of a possible wreck located within the boundary of the development a seabed video survey was undertaken at the site.

Nothing of archaeological note however was identified in the survey, with only one item discovered – an old beer bottle.

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