AQUA NEWS

STARTUP HAS HIGH HOPES FOR MASSIVE, MOBILE FISH FARM

A British startup and its Chilean strategic ally are in the process of developing a 174 metre mobile fish farm that could be capable of producing up to 5,000 tons of salmon per cycle. Called Ocean Sovereign, the company was established with the participation of its strategic ally Ocean Arks Technology (OAT), which was set up by Rodrigo Sanchez, the man who helped to introduce the use of copper-meshed nets into Chile’s aquaculture sector. He is supported by Christino Stange, one of the pioneers of the Chilean aquaculture industry, who has over 45 years’ experience of fish production; Hector Ruiz, a former captain in the Chilean Navy, who brings experience in marine regulations and offshore navigation; and Karl Morris, an offshore specialist who brings experience in marine regulations, navigation and the offshore environment. According to Sanchez, the concentrated nature of coastal aquaculture – in particular of the salmon sector – is limiting its growth and challenging its sustainability. With coastal aquaculture sites vulnerable to a range of problems including oxygen drops, algal blooms, red tides and the accumulation of parasites and pathogens. Mobility is our goal, keeping fish in the best water conditions is the key,” he told delegates at the recent Blue Food Innovation Summit, where Ocean Sovereign had been invited to present its project. “Basically we cut the ties that keep aquaculture on the coasts, we put a low emission engine on it, add the technology of fully recyclable copper meshes and transform aquaculture into a fully mobile activity,” he added. According to the approved plans, the Ocean Arks will be 174 m long by 64 m wide, have the capacity to store 450 tons of feed, be able to operate without resupplies for up to 25 days, produce 5,000 tons of fish per cycle and have a cruising speed of 3 to 4 knots, depending on the species being farmed. While the first unit has yet to be built, the milestones flagged up by Sanchez include successful patent applications and approval from RINA. He also claimed that the “framework regulation for several territories to ensure production approval” exist.

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