Billed as “the world’s largest fish farm”, the concept was the first of a raft of applications to successfully be awarded a development licence by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries. A pilot version of the new cage design is currently being constructed in China and is set to be installed near the island of Froya, in Norway, later this year.
Developed by Ocean Farming, a subsidiary of the SalMar Group, the aquaculture facility will consist of a slack-anchored, semi-submersible structure, permanently moored at a water depth of 300m by eight 130m polyester mooring lines. Each mooring line will be made up of an anchor and two lengths of rope, joined by a H-link. Fibre rope has been chosen as it allows for some movement of the semi-submersible, in line with offshore conditions and tidal changes. Tension on the mooring lines is monitored with load cells.
The full-scale pilot facility is due to be stocked in Q3 of this year. It will be equipped with one moveable and two fixed bulkheads, allowing it to be divided into three separate compartments, enabling different fish-related operations to be performed. The installation is planned to be fully automated to eliminate heavy manual operations, but will be permanently staffed by 3-4 crew.
The mooring lines are being manufactured at Viana de Castello in Portugal by Lankhorst Ropes Offshore – a firm that traditionally supplies mooring lines to the oil & gas sector.