Salmon farm granted pen re-design

Planning consent for net changes at Harris fish farm but with conditions to protect gannets v.1

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 3:01 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 3:01 pm
SSC operate a processing plant in Marybank

by Peter Urpeth

Local Democracy Reporter

Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) has been granted planning consent to replace the existing bird nets and supports at its fish farm at Reibnish, Scadabay, Isle of Harris, but with conditions attached to protect populations of gannets. 

In its proposal for the change, at the fish farm, located at the southern end of East Loch Tarbert, SSC stated that currently, the bird nets are supported by a 2.5m high central support within each pen. 

But the replacement nets will use 5m support poles mounted onto each of the pen handrails and with no central support at each of the farm’s 16 pens. 

The company stated that the revised bird net and support design “is proposed to give effective bird deterrence whilst protecting fish health.” 

In granting consent for the change, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CNES) has applied conditions to the development to mitigate against potential impacts  on gannet populations associated with the St Kilda, North Rona and Sula Sgeir, Sule Skerry and Sule Stack designated Special Protection Areas. 

SSC will be required to keep daily records of the entrapment or entanglement of birds in the nets and to report any significant incidents of entrapment or entanglement to the authority.

The netting will also be required to have a ceiling mesh of 100mm, side panel mesh size of 100mm at the top section, and 25mm at the lower section.