Ninth exhibition in city is ‘busiest ever’
Fish farming focus
THE Skipper Expo Show, held at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre last month, attracted record visitors, said the organisers. ‘In the nine years we’ve run the Aberdeen show, this was our busiest ever first day,’ said Mara Media spokesman Hugh Bonner. ‘People were literally queuing out the door.
‘We had 850 people in an hour and a half, and 1,300 in the full day. And Saturday has also been very busy.
‘We have 250 companies, including 27 boat and shipbuilders and 25 different nationalities.
‘The fishing and aquaculture industries are in a healthy state. Next year, together with our main sponsors, the Scottish Fishing Federation, we hope to move the show to new and larger facilities in Dyce, but up to this point, nothing has been signed.’
Although predominantly for the trawler fishing industry, Skipper Expo had a significant overlap with aquaculture, with products and services also aimed at fish farms.
SeaQuest Systems, from Donegal, Ireland, showed its 40cm pump, now operating on board the ship Volt Processor, in conjunction with Optilice, the de-licing system from Optimar.
Some 400 tonnes of salmon an hour can be pumped and SeaQuest claims that stress levels on fish are 300 per cent less than with traditional pumps.
Another 40cm pump is on its way to Chile and the 30cm version, to be launched later this year, has four units pre-sold to a North American customer.
Peterhead and Fraserburgh based PBP Services, provider of protective coating systems, has recently made a £150,000 investment in a new robotic blast surface cleaning system, and has been appointed official insulation partner for Degafloor.
This is ideal for applying to all industrial flooring, particularly fish processing companies, said the firm.
The German resin cures and dries in 90 minutes, allowing five coats to be applied quickly and efficiently to give a seamless resin finish. Recent business has come from Norway, Denmark, Ireland and Bahrain.
Protective clothing company Guy Cotten continues to use its knowledge of the market to introduce new items to its range, including the Isomax jacket with bib and brace, and added apron, giving extra protection exactly where needed.
Both Gael Force and Vonin exhibited, concentrating mostly on their trawler and fishing related products.
Manufacturers of cages, nets, and ropes had a big presence in Aberdeen. All the way from Peru was FISA (Fibras Industriales). With more than 70 years’ experience, including in the aquaculture industry in Chile, Fisa is now looking to bring its range of cages and nets to European fish farms - in particular, Supra, its HDPE anti-predator netting that has been so successful in Chile.
Sales director Yoni Radzinski had also hoped to exhibit at Aqua Nor later this year but the show was already full when he tried to book in November last year.
Also towards the end of 2018, Irish net maker Swan Net Gundry opened a new base in Shetland, under the SNG Aqua banner.
Initially for net repairs and a net washing facility, the firm has since applied for planning permission for a new building, and when complete, further aquaculture services can be developed.
Local company Euronete, from Aberdeenshire, continues to concentrate on netting and ropes for the pelagic fishing industry, but it sees the potential of growing the business within aquaculture, by emphasising the quality of the product and service it provides.
As mentioned above, a great many ship, boat and barge builders and repairers attended, including several for the first time.
Bredgaard Boats from Denmark builds fibreglass vessels ideal for use as fish farm workboats.
The boats are custom built to order and can have a six to eight-month timescale from planning to finish- good news for any fish farm looking for a short lead-time.
Another first time Aberdeen exhibitor was Damen Shipyards, from the Netherlands. Damen produces workboats ‘off the shelf’ but with modifications available for the addition of cranes and other individual requirements, such as the Volt Processor (see above), a 40m de-lousing ship.
European sales manager Mike Besijn told Fish Farmer: ‘Aquaculture is growing and we’d like more involvement. We listen carefully to our customers.
‘The ship is a platform and we have the flexibility to add to it. We think Damen are achieving the wow factor.’
“Aquaculture is growing and we’d involvement” like more
More wow factor comes from Ferguson Marine Engineering, based on the Clyde.
At the show the company was focusing on its new VR (virtual reality) headsets, which customers can use to ‘walk around’ a 3d visualisation of a vessel.
For prospective new builds this helps potential buyers decide on any alterations, from the siting of deck equipment down to window sizes, so that all builds are unique and one-offs.
The company is currently working on a 21m vessel, designed by Macduff Ship Design, for Inverlussa.
Also working more closely with aquaculture customers is Macduff Shipyards. The Banffshire based yard is building a catamaran for Scottish Sea Farms and continues to build up the net cleaning sector of its business.
Mest Shipyard is a modern shipyard in the Faroe Islands. It services and repairs vessels built in Norway or Denmark from a position in the North Sea that means less travel and cost.
Halfway between Scotland and Iceland, Mest has a 115m dry dock and fjords with virtually no tides and sees its shipyard as ‘the best kept secret in the North Sea’.
Equipment suppliers also featured well
JC Hydraulics, based in Peterhead, is a repairer but also an agent for BOPP deck equipment, giving JC a significant presence with new boat builds. A new contract was signed at the show and more are ‘close to signing’.
Global Empire Hydraulic Connections from Cork came to Skipper Expo with an ingenious product launched six months ago.
The King Coupling is a quick-fix solution for hydraulic hoses and burst hydraulic pipes. Instead of losing half a day to fix the problem, down time is reduced as machinery can be up and running again within half an hour.
The ports and harbours of Scotland again had a big presence at the show, with Lerwick, Scalloway, Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Scrabster, plus Shetland
Seafood Auctions, all talking of recent developments or plans for the future.
On the Aberdeenshire Council stand, the ports and harbours of the county were represented as well as KIMO, the body working to protect and enhance the marine environment.
Many vessels are involved with the scheme which resulted in more than 200 tonnes of rubbish being taken from Scottish waters last year and now totalling of over 1,400 tonnes since the scheme began in 2005.
And both Seafish and the Scottish Maritime Academy in Peterhead were there to publicise the importance of the maritime, fishing and aquaculture courses they organise, including health and safety, sea survival, deckhands and engineering.
One of the largest stands was from Norway - MMG (Maloy Maritime Group), under whose banner some 16 companies exhibited, covering shipyard and port services, fishing gear and general supplies, technical equipment, design and engineering.
From the group, three companies in particular - Baatbygg, Selstad and MH Service work within aquaculture.
The Friday of the two-day show coincided with Norway’s National Day. Every Norwegian there was, of course, more than happy to be in an exhibition centre in Aberdeen rather than being at home on holiday!
And the cakes and champagne they provided and shared helped non Norwegians celebrate the day too.
Above: Busiest ever show (photo: Skipper Expo); JC Hydraulics; Swan Net Gundry/SNG Aqua. Opposite: Damen Shipyards (top); Fisa of Peru.
Above: Protective clothing from Guy Cotten. Left: Ferguson Marine Engineering; Macduff Shipyards. (Photos: Scott Binnie)