Aqua­cul­ture UK 2018

Lead­ing Nor­we­gian equip­ment sup­pli­ers join forces

Fish Farmer - - Contents -

Aqua­line/Steinsvik

TWO fa­mil­iar names in Nor­we­gian aqua­cul­ture, Aqua­line and Steinsvik, are now able to sup­ply turnkey so­lu­tions for sea based fish farms fol­low­ing a tie-up that com­bines the best of both com­pa­nies.

Since Fe­bru­ary this year, they have both come un­der the um­brella of Nor­we­gian in­vest­ment firm Kverva Tech­nol­ogy, which bought 100 per cent shares in Steinsvik in 2017 and re­cently ac­quired a 91 per cent stake in Aqua­line.

The busi­nesses will con­tinue to fo­cus on their re­spec­tive fields of ex­per­tise. This is very im­por­tant, said Stig Do­maas Forre, chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer at Aqua­line, be­cause ‘to sur­vive in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, you need to be a spe­cial­ist’.

How­ever, they will be able to col­lab­o­rate through shared re­search and devel­op­ment, and pro­vide com­ple­men­tary prod­ucts to their global cus­tomers.

In­di­vid­u­ally, Aqua­line and Steinsvik are lead­ing tech­nol­ogy providers and to­gether they have a pro­jected turnover of more than NOK 1.5 bil­lion.

The new group – which also in­cludes RAS spe­cial­ist AquaOp­tima, bought by Steinsvik last year - will be able to sup­ply all ser­vices to the in­dus­try, in­clud­ing cage and moor­ing sys­tems, Midgard cage net sys­tems, feed­ing tech­nol­ogy, mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems, cam­eras, barges, re­cir­cu­lat­ing aqua­cul­ture sys­tem (RAS) smolt plants, and par­a­site con­trols, such as the Ther­mo­licer ma­chine.

The joint ven­ture be­tween Aqua­line and Steinsvik is a com­plex process and could take one or even two years un­til it is com­pleted.

‘But al­ready we’re work­ing to­gether of­fi­cially and we’re do­ing quotes for turnkey projects to­gether of­fi­cially,’ said Forre.

Steinsvik has grown rapidly from 2004 when the for­mer owner, Bjørn Apeland, bought the com­pany. At this stage, the turnover within fish farm­ing, was around NOK 5 mil­lion; to­day, Steinsvik gen­er­ates more than NOK 1 bil­lion.

Steinsvik’s Scot­tish sales base in Fort Wil­liam was es­tab­lished about 10 years ago. Forre said the new part­ners are now dis­cussing where to es­tab­lish new fa­cil­i­ties in Scot­land.

Ear­lier this year, Innes Weir, who has 30 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try, was ap­pointed to run the Fort Wil­liam of­fice to give the com­pany a ‘re­boot’ in the UK.

‘You have to be present in the mar­ket in or­der to grow it,’ said Forre. ‘We see big po­ten­tial in the Scot­tish mar­ket.’

Forre said the com­pany - which is the big­gest sup­plier of cages world­wide and one of the three big­gest sup­pli­ers in Nor­way - can sup­ply equip­ment for any kind of farm site, whether shel­tered or high en­ergy.

He be­lieves com­pe­ti­tion in the sup­ply chain is healthy - ‘it is good for fish farm­ers to have com­pe­ti­tion’ – and said they all pro­duce slightly dif­fer­ent prod­ucts any­way.

‘The in­dus­try is growing here enough to ac­com­mo­date us all,’ he said, adding that the re­quire­ments of the new Scot­tish Tech­ni­cal Stan­dard, which must be met by 2020, are in­creas­ing de­mand for new and up­graded equip­ment.

Every year, the com­pany in­vests up to five per cent of its turnover in re­search and devel­op­ment to con­tinue to im­prove its prod­ucts, said Forre.

One re­sult of this in­vest­ment is the com­pany’s 3D vir­tual re­al­ity sys­tem, which was at­tract­ing the crowds to its stand in Aviemore.

“You have to be present in the mar­ket in or­der to it” grow

Forre said this was a very useful train­ing tool as it tele­ports the user in­side the fish cage, from where they can ‘dive down’ and in­spect the moor­ing sys­tem and check the net (al­though it is not used as a sub­sti­tute for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion bod­ies’ in­spec­tions).

A farm worker in Chile, for ex­am­ple, can use the vir­tual re­al­ity gog­gles and have a dis­cus­sion with a tech­ni­cian logged on to the sys­tem in Nor­way on how to in­stall a com­po­nent.

When Fish Farmer tried out the tech­nol­ogy in Aviemore, it was pos­si­ble to be trans­port- ed, by squeez­ing a joy­stick, not just to the bot­tom of the cage but ac­tu­ally un­der­neath it. If there were any tears in the net we could have spot­ted them.

Aqua­line is soon to run a vir­tual re­al­ity train­ing course for Cooke em­ploy­ees in Orkney af­ter it sup­plies its Midgard net cage sys­tem, de­scribed as es­cape proof, at a high en­ergy site.

‘If it’s to be an es­cape proof sys­tem, peo­ple need to know how it works,’ said Forre.

Op­po­site: Aqua­line’s busy stand. Above: Do­maas Forre talks to a cus­tomer; a cut out cage.

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