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Scottish Sea Farms has hailed a £6 million Scottish-built boat which has been constructed with fish welfare at the forefront.
The purpose-built vessel Kallista Helen was officially named by Kallista Knight, 18, the niece of Ben Wilson, managing director of Inverlussa Marine Services (IMS) on Mull.
It was designed by Macduff Ship Design, Aberdeenshire, in partnership with IMS and salmon producer Scottish Sea Farms.
It was launched by Ferguson Marine, the Scottish Government-owned shipbuilding company at Port Glasgow.
The 26-metre vessel, hailed as the first vessel of its kind to be constructed in Scotland, is on a long term lease from IMS to Scottish Sea Farms.
Ben Wilson, managing director of IMS, said it was built with fish health and welfare front of mind.
‘From the outset, Scottish Sea Farms was looking to minimise fish handling and maximise fish welfare, designing the boat around those.
‘The result is so much better when you start with the fish then consider the boat, rather than the other way round,’ said Mr Wilson.
It is fitted with a next generation £2.5m Thermolicer – backed with a £205,000 Marine Scotland grant from its European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
Scottish Sea Farms said the new vessel would enable it to intervene earlier in sea lice control to help safeguard the health of farmed fish.
Jim Gallagher, managing director, said: ‘Not only is the Kallista Helen another important step forward in our drive to ensure the best growing conditions for our fish, it’s also a great example of Scottish business supporting Scottish business from drawing board through to final deployment.’
The Kallista Helen is due in Shetland in early May where it will be fitted out by Scale AQ’s Scottish team and Ocean Kinetics of Lerwick.
Once works are complete, the vessel will operate with two five-strong crews – one from Scottish Sea Farms and the other from Inverlussa.
Fergus Ewing MSP, cabinet secretary for the rural economy with the Scottish Government, welcomed the partnership.
‘Aquaculture is a vital sector for Scotland’s economy, creating many highly paid, highly skilled jobs across the country, many of which are in rural and remote communities,’ he said.
Central to the vessel’s bespoke design is the Thermolicer itself which was designed and engineered by aquaculture company ScaleAQ in Norway in partnership with ScaleAQ UK.
A simpler, straighter pipe layout creating a ‘gentler experience’ for fish.
A wider than standard pipe of 600mm diameter to ensure a smoother journey through the system.
Increased capacity of up to 120 tonnes per hour.
150-micron filtration to separate and collect the dislodged sea lice for removal from the marine environment.
The service vessel has also been custom-built to house delousing technology within a sheltered deck to protect it from the elements.
Advantages include better operational efficiency, improved seaworthiness and safer working conditions for the crew, said Scottish Sea Farms.
The engine room also features a heat recovery system – saving on both fuel usage and carbon emissions.
HOW A THERMOLICER WORKS