The new pens are a world first in seal and sea-bird protection that will deliver unparalleled safety improvements – for farm workers, for seals, for sea birds, and for the salmon they protect.
Our new seal and bird-proof pens are being rolled out across our farms right now and we expect the roll-out to be completed in 2015.
We’re investing approximately $80 million in our new “Fortress Pens”and we are extremely proud that it has been designed, tested and produced by our employees, and built locally. Huon will use the new pen design in two standard pen sizes – a 168m circumference pen and a new 240m circumference pen. Existing 120m circumference pens will be phased out and recycled as material for the new pens.
What are the benefits of the pen changes?
Fish health and welfare
The new pen size creates more space and provides more oxygen for the fish, which means that Huon will continue to have a significantly lower stocking density than anywhere else in the world. Lowering our stocking density provides our fish with maximum oxygen and an ideal environment to thrive. Stopping seal interaction with our fish eliminates fish stress, injury and loss.
Seals are prevented from entering the pens which means that seals are unable to become trapped. The net design and material discourages birds from resting on the pens and prevents them from accessing fish feed reducing the likelihood of bird entanglements.
Reduced environmental impact
Waste from the fish in the larger pens is dispersed over a bigger area making it easier for the environment to naturally “process” it.
The flat, enclosed walkway of the new pens provides a safer and more stable work platform for farm workers particularly in bad weather. Seals are also unable to access the walkways, reducing the likelihood of aggressive seals interacting with employees.
Marine debris will be reduced through in-situ net cleaning. Pens will not be dismantled for cleaning which in turn reduces the opportunity for marine debris to be created, as well as this less rope used in new pen design reduces potential for rope to be lost from the pen. The new pens also have a greater ability to cope with extreme weather which means that debris caused by weather is expected to reduce.
You can access information on the roll-out of our new pens here.