Fusion Marine aimed for Norway, happy in start-up house

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Seasoned equipment maker content to be near innovators, industry

Scottish plastic net-pen maker, Fusion Marine, has taken to Twitter to mark milestones of its fish-farm construction operation that include five years of trouble-free farming at The Scottish Salmon Company’s Isle of Harris site, and a new move to Malin House, of the new European Marine Science Park at Dunstaffnage, western Scotland.

“View from the office today at Malin House (showing snowy mountains),” a company Tweet said, showing a photo of the seaward Scottish Highlands.

A prepared statement by Fusion Marine managing director, Stephen Divers, said he hoped for “synergies” for being part of the newly in-place cluster of scientific expertise at Dunstaffnage, about 95 kilometers northwest of Glasgow, where Fusion will be “aiding in aquaculture research and development programs”.

SalmonBusines emails to Fusion Marine and its publicists about the fate of its Norwegian marketing effort produced no new comment after several days of trying, but the company’s actions speak volumes. They’ve produced for The Scottish Salmon Company and Loch Duart, among others, and their plastic designs take a deviant route from the latest steel-cage, offshore designs recently debuting in production permit applications with the Norwegian Fisheries Ministry.

Norway foray
Fusion Marine tried to sell in Norway, however inshore waterways in the Nordic country fall under a new and still-contested “traffic light” regime governing where new farms can be placed. The trend in Norway is for land-based juvenile production and offshore production to market size.

Tried and tested: Fusion Marine pens are in use with The Scottish Salmon Co. and Loch Duart

Fusion’s Aquaflex fish-farming system of from 35 meters (11 m diameter) to 80 m circumference (25 m diameter) is admittedly the “ideal system for inshore sea farms, freshwater farms, pilot farms and for rearing juvenile stock,” a company brochure said. Other “plastic” pen attributes include an injection-molded modular deck system, a low-maintenance design “resistant to saltwater corrosion” and thick, 250 millimeter polyethylene rings with heavy walled pipe “to resist impact and kinking”.

For now, though, the company can enjoy the start-up and research community at its’ Malin House offices and seaside. The Park offers a state of the art lab and 30 employees from a number of other companies.

Good R&D company
By all accounts, it’s a business park and a sort-of start-up lab for marine expertise that ought to help Fusion Marine develop new sea-farm models and assist marine research. Other tenants include micro-algae technology expert, Xanthella Ltd, creator of an algal photobioreactor business.

“The (Science Park) is fast becoming a renowned location for marine science,” a Xanthella statement said. Scottish and European Union money funds the local start-up activity, with at least one other resident company working on new fish packaging made from shellfish waste.

The Scottish Association of Marine Science and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise agency appear to be behind the facility and its occupants’ progress there. By the accounts and Twitter accounts of those with offices at Malin House, it’s an interesting mix of expertise and business acumen.