News from the districts – June 5, 2020

Port Ellen pupils were congratulated by NASA on Twitter

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Isle of Islay

Port Ellen Primary School pupils were over the moon when their space rockets caught the attention of NASA.

The children created the rockets as part of their home learning activities during lockdown and received congratulations from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration on Twitter.

Argyll and Bute Council policy lead for education Councillor Yvonne McNeilly said: ‘Science, technology, engineering and maths subjects are a vital study area for young people and for Scotland, so it’s wonderful to see pupils at Port Ellen pupils engaging in these throughout lockdown.’

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament in which he congratulated the pupils on their efforts.

Mr Cameron said: ‘It is inspiring to see how the pupils and their teachers have risen to the challenge of learning during the pandemic.’

Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership has set up support for unpaid carers and personal assistants who provide paid care to individuals through self directed support funding to ensure they have access to personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Carers normally access PPE through their own supply channels, however, the HSCP is keen to ensure they can quickly access PPE from an alternative source.

Unpaid carers are asked to contact their local carers’ centre and personal assistants are referred to the HSCP locality hubs. The local centres will discuss the carer’s needs and eligibility and are open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.

The carers’ centre for Mid Argyll is Dochas Centre, telephone 07464 308418.

The Mid Argyll locality hub can be contacted on 01546 604864.

Sound of Shuna

Fish farming company Mowi has announced a new sea lice avoidance system, developed by AKVA group.

Mowi Scotland’s site at Port na Cro in the Sound of Shuna is the first farm in the UK to install the technology, designed to proactively avoid the tiny fish parasite commonly found on many marine fish.

Known as the Tubenet, the project is part of a commercial-scale validation following successful trials carried out at Mowi’s research centre in Norway.

The Tubenet works by keeping fish well below the traditional sea lice belt that is in the upper water column (top 5-10m). This is achieved by installing a large cylindrical passageway in the centre of a cage, from which tarpaulin hangs and protects salmon from lice infestations when they swim to the surface to fill their swim-bladders.

At Port na Cro, the tarpaulin hangs to a 14m depth and the feeders are placed at 13m.

Gareth Siney, farm manager at Port na Cro, said: ‘At the moment, we use lots of different tools to tackle sea lice such as water pressure and using cleaner fish that naturally pick the sea lice off our salmon. But this technique is the first that is proactive by essentially trying to avoid sea lice being present in the water in the first place.’

The Tubenet was installed at Port na Cro in May and the project will conclude when the salmon are marketed.