First in Scotland for new fish farm technology as Loch Long submits plans

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Loch Long Salmon has submitted a planning application to develop Scotland’s first semi-closed fish farm at Loch Long near Beinn Reithe in Argyll.

Semi-closed fish farm technology excludes sea lice, catches most of the organic waste, and improves the health and welfare of the farmed stock.

While the Loch Long site would not be suitable or economical for conventional open net aquaculture due to its low current, the company believe it is ideal for Scotland’s first semi-closed farm due to its sheltered location, deep water, geographical isolation from other salmon farms, and proximity to a suitable shore base location.

‘Semi-closed systems have been demonstrated to offer a range of benefits,’ Loch Long Salmon said. ‘The conventional salmon farm net is completely enclosed by an impermeable and opaque marine fabric material. This secondary barrier prevents sea lice from getting into the farm, stops seals from seeing the farmed fish and traps most of the salmon faeces and any uneaten feed.

‘The lack of medicinal or other treatments needed for sea lice has been shown to improve the welfare of the farmed fish overall, and to prevent breeding populations of lice establishing in the enclosures preventing retransmission to wild salmon and trout.

‘Semi-closed farms also do not require anti-seal nets or underwater acoustic seal scaring devices, and therefore have minimal impact on nearby marine wildlife including seals, dolphins, porpoises and whales.

‘The farm will also capture more than 85 per cent of the organic waste that is produced. This will be used as a fertiliser ingredient or in green energy production.’

The proposed farm will comprise four circular shaped marine farming enclosures each with an outer diameter of up to 50m and a square harvesting facility with a side length of up to 50m, all being semi-closed containment systems. These enclosures will sit in single file formation in an 80m x 80m mooring grid approximately 300m from the western bank of Loch Long. The farm, expected to be operational by 2023, will employ approximately 12 people.

Loch Long Salmon submitted the planning application to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Planning Authority on October 8. It will now be assessed by the planning authority ahead of formal public notification and the official consultation process.