Mowi seeks permissions to install largest salmon pens in Scotland to defend against storms

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In response to three salmon escape incidents, salmon farmer seeks “most robust infrastructure’ for Western Isles.

In its latest newsletter the Scoop, Mowi Scotland writes that it will seek permissions to install 200 metre circumference sea pens at its most exposed salmon site off the Western Isles.

Big storm events
This is because “storm event simulations show better performance of larger, high-specification high-density polyethylene pens in big storm events”.

In response to three salmon escape incidents from its Hellisay farm over the past four years, Mowi Scotland’s multidisciplinary team will deploy “the most robust infrastructure available to protect the health and safety of its employees and fish”.

Investigations into past escape events have identified a failure in infrastructure (damage to pen structure and/or netting) during severe storms. The team, consisting of its most experienced farm managers from the Faroes, Ireland, Norway and Scotland, as well aa range of consultancy services such as marine engineers and wave climate analysts, provided its recommendations on what is required to ensure the farm defends against a ‘one in 200 year’storm event.

Containment record
Mowi COO Farming Scotland, Ireland & Faroes Ben Hadfield said that the company “received an enforcement notice from Marine Scotland, which I thought was fair given the incidents at this site, and whilst we are pleased with the exceptional water quality and good biological performance of our fish in the Hellisay site, we are obviously disappointed with our containment record”.

COO Farming Scotland and Ireland and now Faroes: Ben Hadfield

“Mowi has a clear target of zero fish escapes, and we are determined to meet this target even when challenged with extreme weather conditions. We also have a well-resourced and talented team, who are accomplished at solving such challenges,” he added.

Escapes
“Mowi is a leader in farming high-energy locations that present increasingly challenging and beneficial sea conditions. We must however continue to work on our aim of zero escapes at all farming locations,” concluded Hadfield.

Hellisay Atlantic salmon escape events reported to Marine Scotland were as follows: November 2018 (24,752), October 2019 (23,970) and February 2021 (19,686).