Winter 2020

Load monitoring for aquaculture

The team which specialises in load-monitoring solutions for the oil and gas, and more recently the renewables sector, is now designing and manufacturing bespoke asset-monitoring shackles for offshore fish farms.  

The subsea shackles are used to safely secure the underwater pens (some of which measure 160m or more in diameter) and relay information about movement or load on the mooring arrangement back to a central point. This can be achieved via a combination of hard wiring, wireless connections or a combination of the two so that operators can monitor performance and assess load information which can be used to mitigate the risk of failure during periods of adverse weather conditions.

‘Demand for farmed salmon is on the rise, and the aquaculture industry is investigating ever larger sites further out to sea where there is a greater risk of damage from high winds and increased sea states,’ says Michael Hook, business development manager at Strainstall. ‘The companies which make the pens for offshore fish farms now recognise the growing value of the data that can be provided using load monitoring equipment. 

Strainstall supplies shackles and load monitoring expertise to AKVA based in Norway, which is one of the biggest equipment suppliers in the industry and is involved with aquaculture as far afield as Chile.  

The problem facing fish farms was starkly highlighted in August 2020 when Storm Ellen struck the West Coast of Scotland and damaged pens at the Mowi salmon farm allowing nearly 50,000 salmon to escape. Subsequent inspection revealed mooring lines which had become abraded and had pulled away from sea anchors in the storm. This accident has further renewed the imperative to reinforce sub-surface mooring.  

Strainstall delivers hardware, software, and instrumentation solutions to measure load in real time. The equipment is custom-made to enable the early identification of possible mooring line failures, protecting the aquaculture industry from the risk of costly incidents. 

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