The KelpRing is an innovative new product for use in the salmon farming industry. With sea lice being the Scottish aquaculture industry’s biggest problem and cleaner fish a very effective tool in their control, this innovation aims to lessen the very high mortality rate of the cleaner fish by providing them with their own natural kelp forest within the salmon pens.
The objective of the trial was to obtain information for the wider commercialisation of the KelpRing; showing enhancement of fish welfare with anticipated benefits to the longevity and productivity of the cleaner fish in sea lice control, and also testing the design and structure as regards the ease with which normal fish farming procedures can be undertaken.
KelpRings were deployed in salmon sea pens in a practical, industrial scale sea trial, creating a kelp forest in which the cleaner fish could hide and interact with the salmon in a more natural environment closer to what the fish experience in the wild. Many positive behaviours were observed during the trial – fish swimming, resting and hiding in the KelpRing. This is promising in indicating the benefits for the health and welfare of the cleaner fish. The fish were also shown to favour the natural kelp over the fake, plastic hides currently used in the industry.
The trial has also shown the adaptability and versatility of the design, and acceptance of the KelpRing by salmon company staff. There is also the additional benefit to them of a reduction in the work otherwise required to maintain the existing plastic, fake cleaner fish hides.
Sgurr Services Ltd