Fish farming operations in the Mediterranean seek to increase output and look to Norway for better gear. New equipment for parasite control has put ease on larger scale operations in warm water.
Picture: Adding oxygen with NetOx Drum during bath treatment against flukes at Andromeda in Alicante. Photo: Andromeda Group
Norwegian large scale fish farming technology have spread to most regions where salmonids today is being produced. Further, as farms in warmer waters scale up their operation, Norway is a preferred place to look for new solutions.
“We have clear ambitions toward increasing the efficiency. With modern technology we will be able to reduce labour costs. In the Medi there is a long tradition for the use of manpower in most type of work. This included diving for picking out dead fish and for assessing feeding”, explains operations manager Olav K. Øvereng at Andromeda Group, a large scale farming company which grow sea bream at Alicante, Spain.
Feeding and monitoring
Mediterranean fish farms have traditionally used small pens and cheap labour in their operations. However there is a potential for more profitable farming with larger pens and modern technology.
“Our daily output is between fifteen and twenty tonnes, so compared to Norwegian farms our efficiency can be improved a lot. The potential for development is here and the market for farmed fish is good”, explains mr Øvereng.
During the last twelve months Andromeda Group has steadily implemented Norwegian farm equipment onto their farm locations. Fully automated feeding has amongst other been introduced with success.
“This is an ongoing process for us, we will develop our management with the help of modern technology that today is in use at Norwegian farms”, states mr. Øvereng.
As for salmon farming there are parasite issues close to the equator. In the Mediterranean a type of gill fluke cause severe problems if left untreated. Traditional treatment has not been satisfactory, mainly because the dissolving of oxygen during bath treatment has not been effective. However in January this year the farm at Alicante made use of a Norwegian hose diffuser called NetOx, producing microscopic bubbles to the bath.
“With this gear the fish is able to make use of the oxygen we dose, and the process of treatment is far more secure”, explains mr. Øvereng.
Mr. Nils Hovden of company Rantex Marine in Trondheim, Norway has seen a rise of requests from abroad for complete systems for parasite treatment.
“Oxygenation equipment has become fundamental to fish farming, and this diffusor is being widely used in the tropics. For the first time we also deliver the tarpaulins”, states mr. Hovden.
Larger fish pens
Andromeda Group has gradually shifted to larger fish pens, today the standard pen used is of 120 metre in diameter.
“Our staff has steadily learnt new ways of operation. Most Mediterranean fish farms have been using the same management mode for twenty-five years. We now see an overall change and development in the region”, says mr. Øvereng.
Andromeda Group also operate fish farms in Greece, and will invest in modern equipment at all their farm sites. The use of working platforms is also a new practice of the Mediterranean.
The feed factor is also an important issue for Andromeda. In this field there has been little awareness on efficiency and no available models for planning and simulating growth and feed conversion ratio.
“The Mediterranean offers great potential for fish farming. We sell the sea bream whole at 400 gramme size, at 6 euros per kilo. It is a well known product and we plan our harvest according to the general availability”, explains mr Øvereng.