The smolt culler allows excess smolts to be culled and sold for pet food, rather than being sent to landfill. Photo: Ace Aquatec.

Ace Aquatec signs culling machine deal with Norwegian smolt producer

Fish farming technology developer Ace Aquatec has signed a two-year deal to rent an in-water electric smolt culler to Sævareid Fiskeanlegg, one of Norway’s biggest independent smolt producers.

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The culler is based on the same principle and technology as Dundee-based Ace Aquatec’s award-winning Humane Stunner Universal, which is used to render harvest-sized salmon unconscious in a water-filled pipe before slaughter. The smolt culler ensures all the fish are killed and not simply stunned.

The deal follows a successful trial of the machine by Sævareid Fiskeanlegg and enables the company to take its culled smolt to pet food producers by eliminating the use of chemical anaesthesia, which would render them unsuitable for consumption.

Streamlined process

With the ability to process up to one tonne of smolts per hour, the stunner will help streamline Sævareid Fiskeanlegg’s culling process and enable a higher-value use case for smolts which are sorted out of production.

Sævareid Fiskeanlegg chief executive Gustav Folkestad said incorporating the smolt stunner into day-to-day operations had allowed staff to run a more efficient and faster production line.

“Introducing this type of technology opens the door for us to provide higher value on what could be seen as a costly by-product. We’re now looking forward to continuing working with Ace through this agreement,” added Folkestad.

Preben Imset Matre: Dialogue "has helped shape the product into what it is today".

Turning cost into profit

Ace Aquatec’s Northern Europe regional manager Preben Imset Matre said: “We’re delighted to have reached an agreement with Sævareid Fiskeanlegg. Together we were able to demonstrate that the smolt stunner is a great way of turning cost into profit while also allowing you to process the fish more efficiently.

“The good dialogue with Sævareid Fiskeanlegg during the pilot has been very valuable and has helped shape the product into what it is today.”

Sævareid Fiskeanlegg was established on the site of a former cardboard factory in 1978 and has grown over the years. It supplies smolts that can vary between 100 grams and 350 g in size, depending on demand, and accommodates 8 million fish held in almost 20,000 cubic metres of tank volume.