Islanders on Mull would rather see existing ferry services improved than have a road tunnel or bridge to the mainland, it has been claimed.
The Scottish government has proposed exploring the possibility of fixed links to improve connectivity to some islands, including Mull.
But Joe Reade, of Mull and Iona Ferry Committee, said islanders would prefer to see investment in their ferries.
He said there was also a desire to see Mull’s island status left intact.
Suggestions of inter-island fixed links across the Sound of Harris between the isles of Harris and Uist, and also across the Sound of Barra between Uist and Barra, have met with a more favourable response.
Western Isles SNP MP Angus MacNeil, who has been calling for the idea of tunnels to be looked at by government, said such links had been used successfully in the Faroe Islands.
The Scottish government has set out its proposals in its new transport strategy .
It said ferry services between Craignure on Mull and Oban on the mainland had faced “a number of issues and challenges”.
Last year, one of the two ferries that serve the busy route was tied up while engineers worked to fix the propulsion system.
Some of the MV Coruisk’s sailings were cancelled, causing disruption for islanders and visitors .
The Scottish government said a fixed link could improve “reliability, connectivity, capacity and crossing times”.
But Mr Reade, who also runs a bakery on Mull, said the “urgency right now” was to fix the ferry service.
He told BBC Radio Scotland: “We have surveyed locally on the island and asked what do you think of a fixed link, and the responses have been overwhelming ‘no thanks’.
“People want a reliable ferry service and they do want to remain an island and not joined to the mainland permanently.”
There was a row four years ago about whether the Isle of Skye’s bridge to the mainland affected its status as an island.
In the Faroe Islands, a series of 18 islets in the North Atlantic located halfway between Iceland and Norway, underwater tunnels connect the islands of Streymoy and Eysturoy in a network some 6.8 miles (11km) long.
They have cut the travel time between the capital Torshavn and the village of Runavik from an hour and 14 minutes to just 16 minutes.
Mr MacNeil said Scotland should follow the Faroe’s example.
He said: “Now we must catch up with people like the Faroese who have been linking the islands, over lengths of 10km, at about £10m per km to construct.
“Over 25 years this is very doable and affordable, this could revolutionise transport on the islands and on the west coast of Scotland.”
Last year, a leading Scottish engineer said undersea road tunnels could help make Scotland’s island communities more sustainable .
Andy Sloan was involved in a proposal 13 years ago for a 350m tunnel to Bressay in Shetland, which was never built.
Brendan O’Hara, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute, supported Mr Sloan’s call for tunnel-building in the west of Scotland.
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