A PROJECT to build a trout farm off the Cornish coast have been described as ‘absolutely barmy’, in the light of the carnage caused by last year’s storms.
According to a report in the Western Morning News the pilot scheme – led by Cefas, the BTA sand The Crown Estate, which is hoped will eventually lead to a large-scale industry – has been attacked by fishing groups.
The proposals have been condemned for their environmental impact, which would be particularly enhanced given the ferocity of last year’s storms.
The Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, Mark Lloyd, commented: ‘Our freshwater and sea angling members in the South West of England are very concerned about these proposals.
‘It seems absolutely barmy to try to farm fish offshore, especially given the storms of last winter. Nearly all fish farms lose fish even in the relatively benign environment of Scottish lochs, and escapes would be almost inevitable from cages installed in seas which regularly see 70ft waves.
‘Marine and freshwater fish populations already face a host of other threats from pollution, abstraction, commercial exploitation and barriers to migration, about which CEFAS is well aware.
‘The last thing they need is another risk from sea lice infestation, escapee rainbow trout and pollution.’
Roger Furniss, secretary of South West Rivers Association, added: ‘I have over 40 years of experience of Cornwall’s salmonid and sea fisheries and know that salmon and sea trout migrate through and feed in these waters.
‘Development of artificial salmonid aquaculture in them poses an unacceptable risk to these important fisheries.’
However, Cefas has assured critics that a full environmental impact assessment will be undertaken before the project is launched.