Vessel will take fight to lice

April 12, 2016 10:00

A NEW wellboat, equipped with the latest technology for fighting lice and AGD, was officially launched by Marine Harvest in Fort William on April 9, reports with reference to FishnewsEU.

The vessel, 70m long, with a 2,000 cubic metre capacity was officially named Inter Caledonia by Eli Toraasen, who is now designated the ship’s Godmother – following Norwegian tradition – in a ceremony watched by representatives from the local community, suppliers and staff.

Following the naming ceremony the company offered visitors the chance to go on board and see the vessel’s equipment and onboard facilities.

As well as removing and destroying sea lice, the new vessel uses the fresh water to prevent the development of fish Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD), which can occur when water temperatures are higher than normal.

The wellboat has the capacity to carry up to 300 tonnes of live fish at any one time. She will use reverse osmosis technology to turn seawater into fresh water at a capacity of 200M3/hour, and will be able to completely fill her wells every ten hours, allowing the fish to be bathed in fresh water.

As Ben Hadfield, MD of Marine Harvest Scotland explained: “This is a major step forward for Marine Harvest and part of our drive to deliver an efficient and sustainable industry. The industry has used wellboats before for this purpose but they have always had to pump the fresh water on to the boat, this is the first that combines the entire operation within the vessel.

“Many of the challenges we face as salmon farmers are naturally occurring, such as sea lice or Amoebic Gill Disease. This will provide a natural solution for these problems, as freshwater prevents the development of AGD and also allows us to remove and then destroy sea lice.

“It’s a great new tool for us and we’re sure it will reap rewards for us by helping us maintain our fish in peak condition.”

The vessel will be able to treat 24/7, as a result of the desalination which will continuously exchange water at the rate of 200 cubic metres every hour.

Havard Grontvedt, Chairman of Intership AS, owners of the wellboat which will be leased to Marine Harvest Scotland said: “We expect to set a new standard within the wellboat industry with Inter Caledonia, especially when it comes to fish density, gentle fish handling and hygiene.

“With the freshwater production plant the vessel will be a very efficient and environmentally friendly tool for the treatment of sea lice and AGD.

Inter Caledonia will be used to treat the fish on all the company’s salmon farms across the west coast of the Highlands and Western Isles.

In 2012 a number of Scottish salmon farms lost fish due to problems with AGD, caused by a naturally occurring amoeba. The unusually hot and dry weather then led to higher sea temperatures and, more importantly, higher levels of salinity.

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