The Inter Caledonia, which was officially launched by MH Scotland in April, is one of a number of vessels designed to deliver non-chemical lice treatments. Image by Arthur Campbell.

Hydrolicer unveiled

A new weapon in the war against lice and AGD was unveiled at the launch of Marine Harvest’s new wellboat at Corpach on Saturday.

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Named Inter Caledonia, the vessel 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, ideal for treating them against sea lice and AGD.

Following the naming ceremony visitors were able to see the vessel’s equipment and on board facilities.

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, a naturally occurring amoeba. The unusually hot and dry weather then led to higher sea temperatures and, more importantly, higher levels of salinity.