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NEW TECHNOLOGY: 'Wheely' Good Protection

SCOTLAND - An innovative, heavy duty support system for securing bird nets to salmon cages is finding favour with Scotland's leading fish farming companies.

Developed by Fusion Marine and dubbed the 'hamster wheel', it's novel shape is proving a winner over conventional tripod net supports.

The broad diameter of the circular structure offers improved support for protective anti-predator netting. It maintains a regular shape and prevents sagging towards the water surface, a particularly important feature in rough weather.

The support is very robust, with much less movement than traditional net supports and its broad circumference means there is less abrasion to the net, so less damage.

Scottish Sea Farms has been testing the Hamster Wheel at its Kishorn site. Manager Graham Smith says he is pleased with its performance.

The shape of things to come? Innovative bird net supports have practical advantages

Exposed benefits
The new design works very well and is ideal for exposed sites, he says. "It provides good support for the net in a much improved shape. I'd like to have the system installed on all of our cages, " he added.

Marine Harvest has also chosen the support system for a major upgrade and refurbishment programme oat a farm in Loch Erisort, Lewis, and Lakeland Unst is using the system in the far north of Shetland.

Iain Forbes of Fusion Marine said the wheel structure had been developed in consultation with customers and its brought significant advantages to farms using it.

Ellen Hardy

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