Community welcomes fish farm plan

PLANS to build two organic fish farms off Staffin on Skye have been backed by the local community, which said it would welcome the job opportunities.

Planners are being asked to approve the organic salmon farms subject to environmental and other conditions and despite more than 50 objections, the Herald reported today.

But Staffin Community Trust (SCT) has backed the farms at Tote and Culnacnoc and highlighted the economic and social benefits to the area.

The trust said the farms, which could create 50 new jobs, are a major opportunity to revitalise the area by attracting new families to work at the farms.

‘SCT is of the view that the majority of its membership is in support of this development and would highlight to councillors that the bulk of objections come from outwith the SCT’s area,’ it said.

The proposal, lodged by Organic Sea Harvest (OSH) last year, involves 14 fish farming roles, along with direct community benefit and infrastructure investment at Staffin’s harbour if it is approved.

OSH has also agreed to make annual payments to the SCT, which will result in at least £140,000 becoming available for further investment in the community.

The company plans to produce and package locally branded salmon in Staffin before wholesaling to major retailers as organic Skye salmon. This could create 38 jobs, as well as further indirect supply and service jobs.

Highland Council’s north planning committee will consider the proposals at a meeting in Inverness on Tuesday.

Planning officers reportedly expressed concern that some of the development was in a Special Landscape Area, and Natural Heritage agreed that the proposal had the potential to erode the special landscape characteristics.

But the local community trust said it views the move as a chance to lure locals from Staffin back to the area and attract new families.

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