Hi-Tech fish-farming: of lice and men

LEMO connected 10_article 9_cover

Salmon consumption is soaring across the world. Whether land or sea based, fish-farming technologies are becoming increasingly sophisticated in order to meet demand with only limited environmental impact.

Steinsvik is a leader in this field.

Aquaculture has existed since the dawn of time, but it's only since the seventies that it has become an exponentially growing commercial industry. In 2007, the global salmon production totalled 750 thousand tons. It has practically doubled to 1.4 million tons in 2017. Obviously, such growth involves sensitive issues, such as how to reconcile the increase in production with sustainability, safety and profitability? In order to find an equal balance, fish farms rely increasingly on innovative equipment and technologies like those offered by the Steinsvik Group.

Founded in 1966, the Norwegian company has built a solid reputation in the design and construction of feeding barges. A global leader in its field, providing significant benefits in efficiency and productivity.

With a food storage capacity of 150 to 850 tons, these auto- mated platforms can be equipped with up to 16 feed lines. Depending on your needs, the barges are combined with software and other sophisticated equipment, including special cameras. Fitted with various measuring sensors, these cameras enable the monitoring of water conditions and fish behaviour to determine, for example, when the animals need to be fed. Ideal quantities for the well-being of fish are always maintained, which avoids waste and preserves resources.

Steinsvik also develops highly efficient solutions for water treat- ment and filtering with the underlying purpose of contributing to a more sustainable aquaculture.

Among all the patented innovations, the flagship product has been, for the last couple of years, without a doubt, the Thermolicer.

It has indeed to do with lice. As it turns out, you don't actually need to have hair to get them. Sea lice – tiny crustaceans – are naturally present in the sea. However, the high concentration of fish in farms facilitates their reproduction, so they have become the public enemy number one for salmon producers. Thermolicer was designed to provide an environmentally friendly solution to this scourge. As indicated by its name, it uses heat and not medicine or chemical products.

It is based on a simple principle: the fish are aspired into a warm water bath of 30 to 34 °C where they stay for only about 30 seconds before they are let back into their cages. 

The sudden increase in temperature triggers the shedding of any attached sea lice from the salmon's body. 

The water is then filtered, aerated and oxygenated before being re-used in the system.

Capable of treating up to 80 tons of fish per hour, since its launch 5 years ago, Thermolicer has helped millions of tons of salmon get rid of lice. It has been growing in popularity and is used in all the major fish farms in Norway – the world's largest salmon producer – as well as by other major producers, such as Scotland, Canada and the Faroe Islands.

With growing production, centralised monitoring has also become increasingly important. Steinsvik provides high performance solutions fitted with fibre optics connections.

The company offers complete network infrastructures for remote controlling installations. Flexible and adaptable to the customer's needs, it could just as well equip a small fish farm in Tasmania as it does the world's largest fish producers. 

Side view of the Nova SideFeeder 600

Side view of the Nova SideFeeder 600

Remote controlling and monitoring are possible

Remote controlling and monitoring are possible