UCO nets a solution to the problem of containment 

UCO’s Netfix system on an ROV

Maintaining the integrity of nets is essential for a fish farm – but can be expensive. Fortunately, there is an answer to the dilemma

Containment of stock is a key aspect of husbandry operations, of vital importance for the fish farmer from an economic and regulatory position. Avoiding issues created by escaped fish is beneficial to all. No farmer wants to lose their fish, for any reason.

Small holes in fish farm nets can appear where predators have tried to gain access, or the net has snagged on a piece of equipment during operations. Until repaired, the holes can develop to form a weak part in the net, risking more attacks and further damage by predators or they can get bigger, allowing fish to escape.

Identified during routine containment checks by ROV or during net washing, these holes are recorded, and urgent repairs planned. Historically this has meant calling out a dive team at short notice to carry out repairs. That’s a time consuming and expensive process that can face delays due to factors such as availability of dive teams or the time taken to travel to remote sites.

UCO technician, Trevor with Netfix system ready to deploy

UCO technician, Trevor with Netfix system ready to deploy

Underwater Contracting (UCO), a leading provider of underwater services to the aquaculture market, has developed a unique ROV (remotely operated vehicle)-deployed system which can make immediate repairs to these small holes, removing the cost and inconvenience of having to call out a dive team at short notice.

The need for a more efficient solution to emergency repairs was identified during subsea operations carried out by UCO’s Foover, its flagship mort recovery tool used at fish farm sites worldwide. In response to this need, UCO developed NetFix, an innovative and cost-effective solution to help in carrying out urgent repairs.

Deployed using a frame attached to an ROV, the UCO NetFix repair system places plastic patches over small holes in cage netting. Held firmly in position by expanding pegs, the patches remain in place until the hole is permanently repaired by a scheduled dive team visit or when the nets are lifted to the surface.

Pivot ROV in operation with UCO Netfix system

Pivot ROV in operation with UCO Netfix system

Farm operatives who have access to an onsite inspection ROV can use NetFix to carry out immediate repairs, ensuring containment of all stock. The simplicity of the system allows it to be used with most of the commonly used ROVs available on the market, to repair small holes quickly and effectively.

The semi-permanent repair is compatible with on-going net washing activity as the patch sits flush with the inside of the net. The patches and plugs, which are easily removed by a diver, can be re-used or recycled.

Using NetFix’s subsea technology also brings enhanced safety features by significantly reducing the length of time personnel spend underwater and the safety risks associated with this subsea repair.

Headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, UCO’s equipment and services, are used across the UK, Ireland and Eastern Canada. NetFix is also available in Norway through ROV Partners AS based in Flekkefjord, Southern Norway – https://rovpartner.no/ and in Greece through well-known farm supplier Aquavet – https://aquavet.gr/?lang=en

UCO is exhibiting at Aquaculture UK, Aviemore, Scotland on 14th – 15th May 2024. To find out more, visit stand E36.

Tel: 01224 872861  

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