Mowi and AKVA de­liver world first for Scot­land

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

MoWi is the first aqua­cul­ture com­pany in Scot­land to trial an in­no­va­tive new sea lice avoid­ance sys­tem de­vel­oped by AKVA group.

Mowi Scot­land’s farm at Port na Cro (Argyll and Bute) is the first farm in the UK to in­stall new and in­no­va­tive tech­nol­ogy specif­i­cally de­signed to proac­tively avoid a tiny fish par­a­site that is found com­monly on many marine fish.

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

The Tubenet, pro­duced by AKVA group, is a lice preven­tion con­cept that 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 our salmon from lice in­fes­ta­tions when they swim to the sur­face to fill their swim-blad­ders.

Fish feed is de­liv­ered by way of sub­sur­face feed­ing tubes, and cleaner fish wel­fare is safe­guarded by us­ing tai­lor-made hides specif­i­cally for Tubenets. In the case of Port na Cro, the tar­pau­lin hangs to a 14m depth and the feed­ers are placed at 13m. The in­ner cylin­der is 60m in cir­cum­fer­ence.

Gareth Siney, farm man­ager at Port na Cro, said:

‘We are re­ally ex­cited to be the first farm to im­ple­ment the Tubenet. 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. How it works is that the Tubenet pro­vides a bar­rier at the sur­face of the water cre­at­ing a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween our fish and where sea lice nat­u­rally gather.’

The Tubenet was in­stalled at Port na Cro in May and Gareth and his team will pro­vide reg­u­lar re­ports and data to the other teams in Nor­way.The project will con­clude when the salmon are mar­keted, but ex­pec­ta­tions are high given re­search al­ready con­ducted by the Nor­we­gian In­sti­tute of Marine Re­search (IMR) found that the sys­tem de­liv­ered as much as 80% re­duc­tions in sea lice in­fes­ta­tion over time.

Com­ment­ing on the trial in Scot­land, David Peach, Gen­eral Man­ager at AKVA group Scot­land, said:

‘AKVA group is proud to be work­ing closely with Mowi both here in Scot­land and in Nor­way. This in­no­va­tion, us­ing AKVA group’s pa­tented tech­nol­ogy is aimed at im­prov­ing fish wel­fare and has been de­liv­ered from our Kishorn, Wester Ross build site af­ter sev­eral years of sig­nif­i­cant joint re­search and de­vel­op­ment in Nor­way.We will con­tinue to work closely with Mowi and in par­tic­u­lar Gareth and the team at Port na

Cro through­out the du­ra­tion of this ex­cit­ing val­i­da­tion project which is a world first in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try.’

Left: The Tubenet in ac­tion on site at Port na Cro.

Above: David Peach, Gen­eral Man­ager at AKVA Group. Photo:AKVA

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