ALMOST 2,000 people have signed a petition against plans for a salmon farm off the north-east coast of Arran.

Community group, Arran Coast, created the petition asking North Ayrshire Council to reject the plans on the basis that the development will be detrimental to the wildlife and contaminate the seabed.

Paul Chandler, executive director at Arran Coast, said: “We’re reliant on tourism on Arran and this will have a direct effect on it. This is in a beautiful part of the island where local companies take people on tours. There’s also the visual impact of having a farm in North Arran. Lots of people walk the Arran Coastal Way.

“They use neurotoxins to kill the lice on the salmon. They don’t know yet what the effect residue of that has on human beings, but it has a huge effect on our crustaceans. It thins the shells of our prawns and crabs.

“They use an Acoustic Deterrent Device to scare seals away, but they end up scaring basking shark, orca, dolphins, porpoises – these valuable iconic species.

“Every day it will be producing more than twice the sewage Oban produces on a daily basis. The sewage itself kills the seabed and that on its own is detrimental.

“This is uncontrolled, unregulated pollution going into the sea. We don’t see this as something that is sustainable at all.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We have not received a planning application in respect of a new fish farm off the coast of Arran.

“However, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Opinion has been made, with the developer seeking an opinion from the council, as planning authority, on what an EIA Report submitted as part of a potential future planning application should address.

“The issues to be addressed will be based on responses from statutory consultees such as SNH, SEPA and Marine Scotland.

“Members of the public will be able to comment on any planning application, should an application be received.”

Find the petition here.