Chile: Innovative copper alloy mesh structures aim to increase safety levels and animal welfare in Chile, reducing the use of fish medicines and costs.
By Jonathan Garces
The salmon industry is not only made of regulations, but also of innovation. One of the aquaculture supplier companies that is following this path in Chile is Ecosea Farming, through its submersible cage raft technology with copper alloy mesh, “which has already allowed our customers to improve their safety levels, increase animal welfare, reduce the use of medicines and operating costs”, the company’s CEO, Nicolás Castillo, tells Salmonexpert.
Additionally, according to the executive, “today, together with the support of Corfo and Invermar, we are in the process of developing technologies that will facilitate operations, through the automation, control and mechanization of routine operations, such as antiparasitic baths, harvesting, extraction of mortality and sludge in centers located in complex maritime sectors”.
“In parallel, we are developing real-time measurement systems for mooring lines, a pontoon for exposed remote operating conditions, and measurements of environmental conditions with wireless sensors and long-distance data transmission. During the next year, we hope to have part of the developments available, which we will apply both in Chile and worldwide with the rest of our clients”, assured Castillo.
It is that Ecosea Farming plans consider increasing its offer in the Chilean salmon market, “especially for those exposed or oceanic sectors, in which traditional technologies are not capable of ensuring high levels of safety. Our technology is designed, calculated and tested especially in areas with complex marine conditions”, indicated the CEO of the company.
“We have seen that the industry trend in Chile is aimed at reducing the number of cage rafts in each production center, which requires an increase in the individual volume of each of them. The problem is that as the size of the cage rafts increases, the traditional shallow square cage raft design has limitations in adverse sea conditions,” the executive said.
Due to climate change, admitted Castillo, “the occurrence of tidal waves, storms and typhoons worldwide is becoming more frequent, conditions that aquaculture has avoided by taking shelter in archipelago and fjord areas. Clearly, these new conditions are presenting important challenges that require the application of new technologies that provide safety and reliability to the production process”.
In this area, “the events that have occurred recently in Chilean salmon farming give us indications that not all farming structures and networks can successfully face the challenges. The main cause lies in the fact that the technologies used are designed for conditions different from those they are facing today”, stressed the CEO of Ecosea Farming.
How will safety in salmon centers be improved with the new Subpesca regulation? Castillo replies that “the standard in the collection and analysis of environmental information (oceanographic and meteorological) will be perfected, which is undoubtedly one of the most important variables for the design and correct dimensioning of the raft-cage and anchoring system. On the other hand, the analysis methodology (dynamic and static methods) and the safety factors of each component are standardized according to the energy level of the cultivation site”.