Proposed new organic fish farms in Staffin

STAFFIN COMMUNITY TRUST (SCT) is pleased to provide the following update about a major aquaculture development which would have significant positive benefits for the Staffin community. 

Organic Sea Harvest (OSH), the company which attended SCT’s AGM last year to meet the community and discuss its plans and also held a drop-in event for more than 60 people at the Kilmartin Restaurant in February, has now submitted two planning applications seeking permission from Highland Council and Marine Scotland to install two fish farms off Staffin’s coast, at Culnacnoc and Invertote.

This would be a considerable boost to Staffin in terms of creating all-year round permanent employment which can retain and attract young people/families and encourage others who have left Staffin in recent years to return. It would also secure a regular income for the district from payments made to the community on the fish landed. The directors of OSH have put a huge amount of work and their own money into this development and are committed to basing their business in this community. OSH intends to produce organically reared salmon from these new farms, process and package the stock in Staffin and then sell it to major retailers as organic Skye salmon. Fourteen full time jobs would be created in total through both sites.

To demonstrate its commitment, OSH has agreed to make annual payments to the SCT, of 5 pence on each fish landed at the Staffin Slipway, which would see an average of £140,000 being made available to this community annually. SCT would like to utilise this pledge to try and secure long-awaited improvement to the Slipway for local users, private businesses and visitors. 

Staffin Slipway


There has been a huge amount of work put into the “pre-planning” process by OSH which has included extensive sea bed surveys, landscape visual work and environmental assessments. 

The key differences between organic and conventional fish farm production are set out in the company’s Environmental Statement. OSH has highlighted the lower stocking densities of fish, its intention not to use anti-foulant chemicals on nets or cages and extended fallow periods when the cages are kept deliberately empty. OSH will also use wrasse and lumpfish (types of fish) within the cages to control sea lice.

The company has provided a folder containing all of its pre-planning documents, including a Non-Technical Summary, at the Staffin Post Office and the SCT office. Anybody wishing to read these documents can do so.  

The directors of OSH have also said they are more than happy to travel to Staffin and meet with any local people who have any questions or are seeking additional information.

A letter, which will be sent to Highland Council on behalf of SCT’s board of directors, outlining its support for this development, can be read here: SCT letter

If you want to make a representation in support of the two fish farms, or generally about the development’s merits, there are three ways in which to do so. 

 

  1. Write a letter: you can write directly to: The Head of Planning and Building Standards, ePlanning Centre, Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX. 

 

  1. Send an email: you can write a letter and attach it to an email which should be sent to eplanning@highland.gov.uk

 

  1. Make a comment: via the council’s “ePlanning” website system: You should click on http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/and then search for the two planning applications using the reference numbers below

Culnacnoc – 17/04749/FUL and Inver tote – 17/04735/FUL

Please note the deadline for making representations on these two applications is December 24th 2017.