Fusion Marine supplied two fish farm pens in kit form for the pilot brown trout venture operated by Falklands based fishing company Fortuna, with Kames Fish Farming providing a wide range of ancillary equipment, as well as project managing the overall installation. Fusion Marine and Kames, who are both based in Argyll in Scotland, have worked together on a range of collaborative projects around the world for the last 20 years.
This small-scale pilot project by Fortuna aims to assess the potential of breeding and growing brown trout (Salmo trutta) in sea pens in the Falklands. Brown trout were introduced into the islands by settlers in the 1940s and now thrive in its natural water courses.
Running the project for Fortuna is Simon Hardcastle who worked at Kames in Scotland in the early 1980s, and who has previously also led a trial farming operation in the Falklands with salmon and mussels. Simon has set up a small recirculation hatchery utilising eggs sourced from wild-caught fish and has managed to produce 15,000 high quality brown trout smolts, which have now been transferred to the two Fusion Marine Aquaflex pens located in Fitzroy Sound, south west of Port Stanley.
These 50m two-ring pens were supplied with full safety decking, sinker tubes, nets and a mooring system. Kames also supplied a wide range of associated ancillary equipment for the fish farm, including transport tanks, crowding ring, handling nets, navigation lights and mounting system, as well as solar-powered automatic feeders. The farm will be serviced by a Hornet workboat, which was supplied by Fusion Marine’s Chilean based sister company, Oban SA. If the trial goes well, then it is anticipated that the fish farm will expand further at some stage in the future.
Peter Richardson of Kames Fish Farming said: “Simon Hardcastle stocked the first consignment of smolts recently and they are doing well. His main challenge will be from predators since there are a lot of sea lions on the island. This is the principal reason behind fitting sinker tubes to the nets as it allows them to be kept very much tighter, thus helping prevent seal damage. There are no other fish farms on the island, so the environment is clear of any fish diseases or parasites, which represents a big advantage.
“Long term the idea is to export the produce aiming at very high end market outlets since this would be a premium product with the Falkland Islands brand name and most likely smoked and packed on the islands. This initial trial batch of fish will probably be sold on the island to service the growing tourist industry now found there.”
Stephen Divers, managing director of Fusion Marine said: “We have forged a very close working relationship with Kames and there is over 60 years of combined experience in the aquaculture industry between the two companies. By utilising this expertise and drawing upon our particular strengths, we have over the years successfully completed a number of fish farm installations, often for pilot projects similar to this one in the Falklands. This collaborative approach provides an all-encompassing service from the supply of fish farm pens and essential ancillary equipment, right through to installation and full project management and after sales support.”