A Harris resident has offered a huge pat on the back to fish farm company Mowi, after getting a positive response to her concern about beach debris.
Kate Lewis, manager of the Scaladale Centre in North Harris, regularly walks and kayaks around the shore at Huisinis and was shocked recently when she spotted a 30-metre length of fish-cage on the shore.
She said: “Lots of people moan about the rubbish on the shore but I decided to do something about it, and I discovered that it takes very little to get them to respond.”
Kate emailed representatives of both the companies that operate fish farms in the area, saying: “I am a resident of the island, involved with youth work and the outdoor industry. I would normally be taking visitors and young people sea kayaking and walking in the vicinity.
“This is the biggest single piece of fish farm debris I have personally seen and it needs to be recovered before it gets smashed into ever smaller pieces and adds to the plastic toxicity already being endured by our marine animals.”
Mowi Scotland’s director of communications Ian Roberts put the message out to his local teams and arranged for the collection of the debris, before responding to Kate. He said: “Regardless of the source, our staff retrieved the 30m length of material and are preparing it for recycling along with other recyclable materials. Thanks again for making us aware of this.”
Speaking to welovestornoway.com today, Ian said: “If aquaculture equipment washes ashore in areas where we operate we will take steps to remove the debris, regardless of source.
“We live and work in beautiful places and we intend to keep it that way. We share the same values as our neighbours and we appreciate the fact that one of our neighbours came to us with this request.
“We do notice that, after storms, equipment goes astray and we scour the beaches close to our farm to see if there is any debris that we can spot and remove, but we also have to wait for the right conditions to get out there and retrieve it.”
Kate said: “It’s really up to us as individuals to let them know when we see fish farm debris on the shore because they can’t know where all the debris is washing up. One quick e-mail was all it took to get Mowi to remove a massive piece of marine debris from a beautiful remote shore and, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a result.”
Picture shows the 30-metre length of fish farm cage on the shore at Huisinis (Kate Lewis).