Fish farm waste is a ‘complete disregard for the environment’

A formal complaint has been raised with local councillors and the MP and MSP over discarded fish farm waste being left on shorelines across the islands, creating a significant eyesore as well as issues in relation to pollution.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 8:51 am
An example of fish farm waste left abandoned on the shoreline

The matter was reported to the politicians by Stornoway resident John Morrison after he collected a series of photographs from individuals, like himself, who are growing increasingly concerned by the lack of action.

In a formal letter, he said the amount of waste, mostly plastic, from fish farms left abandoned on shorelines was “totally unacceptable” and showed “a total lack of respect for the local environment”.

"This is effectively fly tipping at its very worst,” said Mr Morrison. “Apparently this has been an ongoing situation for several years and despite repeated attempts by individuals raising and highlighting these concerns for several years now, no action has been taken by SEPA, CNES or these fish farm operating companies to clean up the mess that they are creating.”

Mr Morrison said that while the photographs collated and seen by the Gazette were from the Bernera area of Lewis – where several fish farm sites are nearby – he said it was an issue prevalent throughout the islands.

He called on councillors, MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan “to take these fish farming operating companies to task”.

"They need to get this issue resolved in a timely manner and for them to also implement a strategy to avoid any current and future repeats of this environmental damage to our local areas, which are so negatively impacted by such poor environmental standards in the delivery of fish and mussel farming,” he said.

“This is a complete disregard for the environment by these various fish farm operating companies and a dereliction of their duties as operating companies.”

Councillor Norman A MacDonald, who represents Bernera, said: “This has been an issue for some time and there is no doubt that it is an eyesore and unsightly. No-one wants to see that in our environment.

"We have looked at this before but the difficulty is in terms of enforcement action is determining which of the companies are actually responsible.”