The Hollie Rose, named after mainland marine engineering manager Craig Cameron's daughters, is designed for a new era of larger, safer fish pens.

Scottish Sea Farms receives new, bigger workboat

19-metre landing craft will support salmon producer's move the bigger pens


Scottish Sea Farms has taken delivery of its biggest landing craft workboat to date, designed to support the company’s move to farms with fewer but larger pens.

The 19-metre Hollie Rose was built in Scotland by Bute Boatbuilders to a design by Argyll-based naval architects A G Salmon and Co.

The vessel, equipped with a PK32080 Palfinger crane and twin MD196TI Doosan diesel engines, will be based between Mull and Oban, and deployed across Scottish Sea Farms’ mainland estate, assisting with net washing, inspections, and fish treatments, SSF said in a press release.

In a first for Scotland, the boat is fitted with a state-of-the-art ROV (remotely operated vehicle) Manta net washer, which has hole detection software, alerting farmers to any possible damage to the nets.

Two bunks

In another first for SSF, the landing craft has on-board accommodation for two crew, enabling faster reaction times and greater flexibility.

Craig Cameron: "Having accommodation on a landing craft is new for us. It gives the farms a better service."

SSF mainland marine engineering manager Craig Cameron, who was involved in commissioning the new boat, said the Hollie Rose will be ready to go where needed at short notice.

“Having accommodation on a landing craft is new for us. It gives the farms a better service and makes the vessel more flexible.

“The two crew will work two weeks on/two weeks off, which is becoming an increasingly popular working pattern in rural areas where housing is scarce.”

Bigger boats to come

The skippers, David McKie and Jacob Ellis, were appointed via internal promotion, with each bringing 10 years’ experience with Scottish Sea Farms, most recently in managerial roles at Bloody Bay farm off the north of Mull.

Cameron said the company’s future landing craft are likely to be at least the size of the Hollie Rose, if not bigger, in line with the move towards installing bigger pens at farms.

Scottish Sea Farms, which expects to harvest 37,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon this year, installed its first 160-metre circumference pens at its Fishnish A farm in the Sound of Mull late last year, with four of the larger pens replacing the 10 existing 100m pens, while maintaining the same biomass.

Local first

The switch to heavier and safer pens not only provides better conditions for the fish but also frees up the farm team’s time so they can focus on the stock’s health and welfare, says SSF. It is a strategy due to be rolled out at other Scottish Sea Farms locations.

Cameron said there are several Scottish yards that could build boats to the Hollie Rose’s specifications.

“We contacted different yards in Scotland to get prices and availability and Bute was the best fit for us. We always look to local builders first,” said the engineering manager.

The Hollie Rose has been in service since the beginning of April, said Cameron, who added he was given the honour of naming the boat after his two daughters.