Fusion Marine completes major fish farm upgrade for Migdale Smolt at Loch Ness
Aquaculture equipment supplier Fusion Marine Ltd has just completed its largest ever freshwater project with the total upgrade of a smolt (young salmon) farm on Loch Ness for Migdale Smolt Ltd. The installation at Dores of new growing pens combined with a central support pontoon and access rafts is the latest development in an ongoing relationship between Fusion Marine and Migdale Smolt that began 15 years ago.
In a contract worth in excess of £0.5m, 30 circular Aquaflex pens were supplied for the site in a 14-aside arrangement alongside a central service pontoon, with two mobile pens kept for support back-up. The pontoon is three metres wide and supported on large diameter polyethylene (PE) pipes with heavy-duty decking, combined with a support structure made from Fusion Marine’s range of recycled plastic profiles.
Two 12 x 6m work rafts were also installed to enable ease of access and provide a useful work platform for operations such as grading, vaccination and fish transfers. Fusion Marine specially developed a new deck support bracket for this new raft design that features large diameter PE flotation pipes and decking made from recycled plastic.
The tough PE construction of the equipment will enable the fish farm complex to withstand the roughest conditions, and according to Migdale Smolt’s general manager Hugh Murray, it is the robustness of Fusion Marine pens that was the principal attraction.
“We have an excellent relationship with Fusion Marine and first worked with the company in 1996 when they installed fish farm pens at our smolt site on Loch Shin,” he says.
“We have found the pens to be extremely robust and have had no problems with them in the rough conditions often encountered on such sites. Stock containment is an absolute priority for Migdale Smolt and this is why it was an easy decision to use Fusion Marine Aquaflex three-ring pens for this latest installation at Dores on Loch Ness.”
The 12m diameter three-ring pens are fitted with Fusion Marine’s modular safety decking to ensure operator safety and a convenient working platform. The nature of the shore at the site made access for installation a challenging proposition, however a farmer’s field was rented close-by and this was used as the assembly site for the components, which were then towed into place.
Stephen Divers, Fusion Marine managing director, said: “We have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with Migdale Smolt for the last 15 years and we are delighted to have successfully completed our largest ever single freshwater project on time for the arrival of new fish in Loch Ness.
“Fusion Marine has developed excellent working partnership agreements with a number of Scottish fish farm companies, which enables us to innovate and develop equipment that suits their exact requirements.
“In particular, fish farmers are looking for the strongest possible containment systems, and the tough polyethylene construction of our pens have been proven in some of the most exposed and roughest environments in the world.”