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EILEEN ARMSTRONG

Environmentalist, Trustee Skye & Lochalsh Environment Forum

Having lived and worked in Edinburgh and London, I moved to the Isle of Skye in 2004 and truly value the landscape, nature and community I am now part of.  In 2012 I was faced with the possibility of having an industrial sized fish farm right across from our home.  Realising the rich biodiversity in the sea loch and our local tourism industry could be threatened by this potential development I felt strongly the community needed to be briefed enabling them to make a measured judgement. To date, we have repeated this exercise for four separate planning applications, recognising that local communities should have their say in any decision to approve or not approve fish farm development in their area. After all, did we invite this industry to our area in the first instance?

In 2012 I was unaware of the impact of aquaculture and it has been a rapid and steep learning curve for me.  Aquaculture is a complex and many faceted industry, and often there is conflict between opinion and the facts.  Our community has been fortunate in having specialist scientific knowledge available to them through James and Roger and backed up by support from our local Community Council, I truly believe people are taking notice of what we are saying, always taking the approach of factually based information providing a base to make an informed opinion. 

My involvement is centred around protecting our environment, our local tourism industry and the well-being and wishes of the community.  I do try to be realistic in my views and fully appreciate that fish farming does bring some employment to our rural communities so am not against aquaculture development per se, but if closed containment became the preferred method of growing salmon, it would solve all the environmental issues and also provide more employment opportunities.   Hopefully by our efforts, folk will become better informed and feel more confident in making their opinions known, either as individuals or communities.

 

 

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