A bird's eye view of Ocean Farm 1. Photo: SalMar.

New fish transfer system for Ocean Farm 1

Norway-based cranes and engineering specialist Techano has been chosen to supply two new fish transfer systems for the world’s first offshore salmon farm, Ocean Farm 1.

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SalMar Aker Ocean, the offshore subsidiary of salmon heavyweight SalMar, is currently upgrading the farm with an emphasis on security, among other things.

SalMar, which co-owns Scottish Sea Farms, has carried out two successful farming cycles in Ocean Farm 1 but has also had two fish escapes.

Inspection hatch

In September 2018, around 16,000 salmon were able to swim out of their cage when Ocean Farm 1 tilted after water entered an inspection hatch that had been accidently left open. A few metres of the top of the net were up to 18 cms (seven inches) under water for a short period of time, allowing fish to escape.

A second escape, caused by a tear in a net, occurred in August 2020.

“We cannot have escapes and therefore the sea cage has been taken out of operation for a period. We take the cost of not producing this period until the new design is in place,” SalMar Aker Ocean chairman Atle Eide said at a conference in Norway in November.

The Techano fish transfer system valves have failsafe operation in case of loss of power or emergency disconnect. Photo: Techano.

Breakaway couplings

Dutch-owned Techano said on its website that the FTS500 fish transfer system being supplied to Ocean Farm 1 is designed to ensure safe and efficient transfer of live fish between aquaculture installations and wellboats, and for operation in harsh environments while maintaining a high standard with regards to health and safety and fish welfare.

The FTS500 system, which is also used on Nordlaks’ Havfarm 1 offshore farm, includes safety measures such as breakaway couplings and escape prevention valves. Each system consists of two sets of pipes and hoses with individual valves in high grade materials. The valves have failsafe operation in case of loss of power or emergency disconnect.

Techano sales and business development director, Øystein Bondevik, said the order confirmed the company’s “world-leading position as a supplier of advanced load handling equipment in offshore aquaculture, a growing and important market for the future”.