"We needed the best solution for exposed locations. I have worked on pens for the last 25 years and never felt this safe," Sigmund Sundal, Operations Manager at Alsaker Fjordbruk Rogaland Dept. says.
STEADY: Location Manager Alf Harald Thorsen on a Polarcirkel 630 in gale outside the coast of Rogaland, Norway. Wide walkways has a big effect for daily operations when nature rebels.
Røvær Fjordbruk acquired Polarcirkel 630 plastic pens when they equipped their most exposed location.
"It is a very solid pen that really holds up in the storm and requires minimal maintenance," Location Manager Alf Harald Thorsen says.
Flatholmen is located at the exposed Røvær archipelago - a 20-minute boat ride just west of Haugesund on the Southwestern coast of Norway. The cold North Sea waters are characterized by wind and a lot of currents.
"You will not find a harsher location than this. It is not possible to feed with feed barges and regular feed hoses - you´ll have to feed with boat and feed cannons," Thorsen says as he navigates us from the safe harbor at Røvær and out to Flatholmen in gale and wave heights up to five meters. The sea froths in white foam.
Farming in exposed locations poses unique challenges to operations, structures and equipment due to severe and irregular wind, wave and current conditions. Flatholmen is operated by Røvær Fjordbruk and is classified at the same level as open-ocean aquaculture farms and needs equipment that can withstand dynamic loads from the sea.
"Flatholmen is exposed to waves and swells which is opposed by 630 mm diameter floating plastic pipes with wide walkways, better buoyancy, stronger stanchions and railing pipes, built-in net pole sockets and plastic brackets that are excellent in this environment. It feels very safe for both people and fish. The pen is the safest I've walked on since I started in aquaculture in 1995," Sigmund Sundal, Operations Manager Rogaland at Alsaker Fjordbruk says.
Flatholmen consists of eight Polarcirkel pens, each with a perimeter of 160 meters and 630 mm diameter floating.
"The equipment is tailor-made for rough conditions which makes it much easier to work at the pen. It easily withstands the strain from well boats, and 20 single weights, each 1 tonne, make the pen and net stable. With strong brackets in injection-moulded plastic instead of steel and straps instead of chains, we also avoid strain on boats and floating pipes," Thorsen says.
Røvær Fjordbruk is a part of Alsaker Fjordbruk, has 5 employees and 2 locations; Flatholmen and Bryggjeland. They produce short of 5000 tonnes of salmon every year.
"The challenge with a lot of currents is that the net can become flat and stress the fish, but weights and tailor-made nets with a flatter bottom and deeper walls keeps the form very well. We joined AKVA group in the test tank in Hirtshals for careful testing of the net, and the test results proved to match reality. It was a good tool for us," Thorsen says.
Roar Ognedal is Regional Sales Manager for Southern Norway and Nordic countries in AKVA group. He was key in the delivery to Flatholmen.
"The pens have been tested in extreme conditions around the world and have gradually been optimized for safety and durability through 45 years of experience. As a result, our Polarcirkel 630 pen is the strongest and most robust model to date. With strong injection-moulded plastic brackets and widespread use of Polyethylene that eliminates corrosion, it is engineered not only to withstand severe weather conditions but also to provide the farmer with the most practical and safe tool possible," Ognedal says.
FACTS RØVÆR FJORDBRUK
- Part of Alsaker Fjordbruk
- Started in 2004
- 5 employees
- 2 locations: Flatholmen and Bryggjeland
- Produces close to 5000 tonnes of salmon every year
FACTS POLARCIRKEL 630 PEN
- Solid construction with 200 mm diameter posts and180 mm diameter railings, reinforced poles and handrails allow the cage to "carry" more accessories
- Strong bollards for mooring boats to the pen - the bollard is also used for attaching roof nets
- Made from non-corrosive plastic material (HDPE100) that make the pen durable and with minimal maintenance needs