Here’s some good news from out at sea.
Since we began operations in 1999, our approach to salmon rearing has been based on low stocking densities in small pens linked by galvanised iron walkways to allow for close observation and ‘hands-on’ husbandry.
These have worked well for us over the years but demanding sea and weather conditions in certain sites create constant high levels of stress and the need for regular replacement and upgrading.
After a long search and review of all the options for one particularly challenging site, we decided on a new design and a new supplier last year. New pens, supplied by Fusion Marine, are now in place on our Oldany site and are working extremely well.
Ten 80m circumference Oceanflex pens were delivered earlier this year. Made from tough polyethylene, the installation is part of our strategy to ensure that all our farm sites are equipped with the most appropriate and strongest possible containment systems.
“Loch Duart’s traditional approach relies on galvanised steel walkways. However, in this industry one must adapt to particular site and weather conditions,” says Mark Warrington, Director of Operations, Loch Duart, “the Fusion Marine pens have proved to be an excellent replacement for the steel pens that were previously here”.
The three-flotation ring Oceanflex pen was developed by Fusion Marine to meet the harsh and demanding sea conditions found in exposed farming locations and come equipped with bird net support wheels, important in an area with large gull and cormorant populations.
“In the case of Oldany we have a very large fetch across the bay which our steel walkways had coped with but we felt the configuration was large for the conditions. – the Oceanflex pens provide a unit which is better adapted while still reflecting our core company principle of small-scale, welfare driven farming where the close monitoring of stocks can continue whilst utilising the most up-to-date equipment with a proven track record,” adds Mark.
We will be harvesting Oldany in Spring 2017 and will report on the results.