Friday, 30 March 2012

Farming Fish

When we are walking on the path that runs along the shore of the Sound of Mull at Garmony we quite often see a fishing vessel with a difference. It is a modern trawler like vessel, about 50 metres long, that it gets it's "catch" by going alongside a fish farm and vacuuming the fish from the farm tanks into the ships tanks for delivery either to a processing plant or a to another farm for fattening up. The vessel, Norwegian operated, carries either Salmon, Trout or Cod in large tanks. The health of the fish during transportation is even monitored by video. Fish farming is big business off the West Coast of Scotland with many new farms being planned or installed in sheltered bays. They are not always welcomed by the locals for a number of reasons, on being that they cover large areas of traditional inshore fishermen and can also obstruct access to places.

It is big business up here providing many local jobs and so is important to the local economy. Scotland is the largest producer of farmed Atlantic Salmon. There are also farms breeding Rainbow and Brown Trout, Arctic Char and a few developing Cod and Halibut stocks. Whilst discussing farming fish I should not forget Shell Fish farming, We have a local mussel farm where the mussel spats are grown on ropes that hang down from long lines placed between buoys in the loch. Their tasty mussels are sent in vast quantities to a central marketing point but luckily for locals a few bags are packed in a cool box where we can call in, drop our money in an honesty box and take home a bag of very fresh mussels.

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