With high-energy aquaculture sites to oversee in Scotland’s Western Isles, Mowi Regional Seawater Manager Kris Laird wanted to see for himself how Faroese Fish Farmers operate in highly exposed environments that regularly withstand exceptional hostile conditions.
He arranged a trip with some Mowi colleagues from Scotland to the Faroe Islands, visiting key suppliers to the Faroese aquaculture sector and to see how fish farms operate under the tough conditions around the islands, with year-round strong currents and wild weather that is a feature of the Faroese winter months.
The three main companies serving the Faroese aquaculture industry are cage and workboat supplier KJ Hydraulic, JT Electric which has a range of feeding systems, high quality cables, lights, cameras and feed barges – and Vónin, which has a long history in developing and producing mooring system equipment, aquaculture nets and a range of associated hardware. All three companies have a growing presence in the UK market and work closely together to service the UK Aquaculture Industry.
“What I learned from the visit is that Faroese suppliers and farmers like to keep things simple in operating and servicing sites. All the suppliers and farmers work closely together to reach the best solutions on these challenging sites,” Kris Laird said.
“The Faroe Islands have a number of high-energy fish farm sites. At Mowi we are always looking at new ways and ideas of improving our equipment and farm practices, especially as we move towards more exposed areas. So we wanted to see how they operate under extreme conditions and what equipment they use.”
Mowi subsequently chose Vónin to be a preferred supplier of moorings and nets, with JT Electric and KJ Hydraulic also supplying equipment to a number of sites in Scotland.
Kris Laird commented that seeing Faroese farms in operation and also the depth of experience and expertise gave him the confidence to order Vónin equipment for Mowi’s sites.
“The in-depth modelling and the highly detailed discussions we had right at the start of the process were key for me in choosing Vónin mooring systems,” he said.
Vónin’s technical team design all mooring systems using Aqua Sim which is accredited by the Norwegian government to perform mooring analysis for the aquaculture industry, in accordance to the NYTEK-regulations. The engineering software takes into account all location conditions and factors that could affect the sites ensuring that all mooring systems meet the required standards.
“The overriding factors when designing a mooring system is safety and durability. Meeting Scottish Technical Finfish Standard 2020 has been an interesting process and we’ve managed to work well meeting the requirements,” said Vónin’s technical moorings engineer Torkil Thompson, who has seen significant developments in the nine years he has been in the aquaculture sector.
“Based on each site’s location and the different environmental data produced, the requirements for secure installations becomes very complex and it’s vital to communicate with site personnel, environmental teams and installers so that we have as much information and data as possible to be certain that systems meet every requirement, especially as we go more to exposed sites,” he explained.
Vónin export manager Nathan Breeze commented that Vónin and the Crosby Group have an aquaculture product alliance, with Crosby products at the heart of Vonin’s Nordic Diamond Mooring system.
“Crosby products are designed and manufactured for the rigours of the challenging operational conditions in aquaculture, focusing on fatigue, shock resistance, strength and corrosion protection,” he said.
“All manufacturing plants producing hardware for our aquaculture range are located in Western Europe and we have full traceability.”
Kris Laird commented that it was ‘highly reassuring’ to be able to see Vónin installations for himself at exposed sites in the Faroes.
“We now have a number of Vónin nets and mooring systems installed and I’m very satisfied with the quality of the equipment and the short timeframes Vónin worked to to deliver these.”
“I’m delighted that Mowi chose us to be a preferred supplier of moorings and nets to their sites,” said Nathan Breeze.
“We are making real progress in the UK and getting the right feedback from clients who are happy with our short delivery timeframes and pricings – but what is critical is that they are happy with the quality of our service and equipment, that for me is most important.”