Aurora Marine Ltd., based in the Shetland Islands, at the crossroads of where the North Sea and North Atlantic Ocean meet, has recently taken delivery of a new workboat built by Viknaslipen A/S of Roervik in Norway.
The boat is of mono hull construction and is built from aluminium. The mono hull construction of the boat means the boat has been built with a cargo hold that is used for housing the net cleaner power pack below the deck. Housing the power pack below deck keeps the equipment out of the elements and in a better condition. The boat is finished to a very high standard and has sleeping accommodation onboard for two crew. Having the accommodation facilities onboard maximises net cleaning hours during the summer days.
The net cleaner has been developed by MPI (Multi Pump Innovations) who are based in the Oslo area. They have an extensive background developing and manufacturing high pressure washing systems. The Directors of the business have undertaken intensive training on the maintenance and operational aspects of the net cleaning system. MPI offers the cleaning package as a turnkey system to meet the specification required by the business. A comprehensive spares package and after sales help and advice are also part of the Company's service. Aurora Marine Ltd. as well as providing a net cleaning service also act as the Orkney and Shetland agency for the MPI's net cleaners.
The new service uses this innovative MPI technology, which is not available anywhere else in the UK. To date, the system has been tested successfully in Norway and other parts of Europe. The net cleaning system is also environmentally friendly, eradicating the need for chemical treatment and disturbance to fish when cleaning nets. Aurora Marine Ltd. have begun work with a remote operated net cleaner and one manual net cleaned to clean nets with. The business aims to fill a substantial gap in the market for this kind of service.
Aurora Marine has been contracted by Lakeland Unst part of the Meridian Group to clean their nets on a two-week cycle. Colin Leask, Director of Aurora Marine Ltd. said "the business is going well and shows great signs for future growth: We’ve put in so much hard work and time to get this far, and we’re confident that the business can grow into the future as producers see just how much this technology can benefit their product.’
Dennis Johnson, Manager of Lakeland Unst, said “Our largest customer in America demands the elimination of pollutants such as anti-fouling. This system meets our customer needs, and helps the business improve its environmental record. It also allows the entire net to be cleaned with no compromise on the oxygen levels within the cages, while traditional methods can only clean the sides of the nets. We are very happy with the system’s performance and the professionalism of Aurora Marine Ltd.”
Aurora Marine will analyse the results of the net cleaners to monitor the benefits to fish farmers in improved fish size and husbandry. Expected benefits include a better flow of water, which improves oxygen levels and encourages fish to be more active. This in turn produces a better feed conversion rate, so the farm gets a heavier fish grown from less feed. The faster the fish can grow, the higher and quicker the farm’s returns on its investment.
The Shetland Islands are well known for its sustainable and responsible production of supreme quality salmon with the Islands responsible for producing 1 in 3 of UK's salmon. This new system will enable salmon farms to be more efficient as well as improving their green credentials as the system improves growing conditions, is environmentally friendly, provides cleaner cages and reduces cleaning time significantly.