A further sign of confidence in the future of Scotland’s salmon farming industry has been demonstrated by major new investment.
Marine Harvest Scotland has taken delivery of two new feed barges for use in more exposed sites as the industry moves further offshore.
The steel barges, which will be sited at Loch Seaforth and Loch Stulaidghll in the Western Isles, have been specifically designed by AKVA for use in more exposed sites and will replace older equipment which will be moved for use elsewhere.
The barges, which hold 450 and 320 tonnes of feed, each have eight silos with an automated hatch control, and high capacity six and eight line feed systems. This represents an investment by Marine Harvest Scotland of more than £3 million.
Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said:
“I’m delighted we are bringing this new equipment to the Western Isles as part of our drive to create an efficient industry which is sustainable in the long term.
‘These steel barges have proved themselves in very rough conditions at some of our most exposed sites and the partnership with AKVA has been of great value in terms of developing a customised solution to meet our specific needs.’
The AKVA Centre 450 tonne Panorama and the AKVA Master 320 tonne Comfort will withstand wave heights of up to 6m. The steel construction allows for easy disinfection if required and the barges have a lower carbon footprint as the steel can be recycled.
The barges provide a safe and comfortable working environment with full overview and control of all the systems. The latest feeding and integrated feedback monitoring systems can be monitored and controlled remotely from a shore base using the AKVA Connect software platform.
Paint is guaranteed for five years on all AKVA barges, but these were given added protection with a metallised finish.
Feed barges have been used routinely in salmon farming for many years now and allow the companies to store larger quantities of feed which can be delivered by sea. This minimises waste and reduces environmental impact.