Docking station for cleaner fish
by SeaNest, Estro, Norway
"Why hasn't anyone thought about this before?" clients keep telling us. We take it as a compliment, and it's nice to see that SeaNest excites with its simplicity in terms of deployment and taking it out of the water after use. And the sturdy construction without any loose parts.
With a calming/dampening function for the Lumpfish, SeaNest provides a surface where the Lumpfish can rest. And due to its shape and connection point (swivel), SeaNest works well also in areas with strong underwater current (this has been proven with customers like Mowi in Norway. The first test units were put in operation at the end of August 2018, giving us close to two years' data and experience.
It all started back in 2017 when developing SeaNest first started. Our first prototype was tested with Marine Harvest (now Mowi) at one of their facilities in the Hardanger Fjord. Test results were already positive from the early prototype and, going forward, the focus has been upon continuously improving upon our great starting point.
It has been a journey very much done together with customers, and by mid-2018 we did a larger scale test with 100 units placed at four-to-five different fish farms in Norway. Following nearly six months of testing, SeaNest was ready for a full scale launch, starting with deliveries to customers like Bremnes Seashore, NovaSea and Mowi.
We now continually work to improve the product even further with a clear goal to be the preferred solution for cleaner fish and fish farmers in the battle against sealice.
'Good mentors and pro-active fish farmers, providing facilities during the development phase, shall have a large part of the credit for the product having received such a good reception in the aquaculture industry, an industry where cleaner fish is such an important part of everyday life," says Trond Marøy of Estro, the company behind SeaNest, the patented hide for cleansing fish.
In these extraordinary corona-times, where staffing may be reduced and special considerations need to be taken, it is particularly important with user-friendly products in operation. SeaNest is easy to handle, requires less supervision and maintenance and can, therefore, stay longer in the sea.
We want to be close to our customers, providing personalised service, while also having our finger on the pulse of the industry. Right now, however, the most important thing is to comply with the government's recommendations to prevent infection. In this situation it is convenient that customers can easily order and deploy the product themselves, without us being present during installation. (Although we sorely miss being out there with our customers.)
Close to 1000 units sold
In just over a year, one thousand SeaNest units have been put into use by the industry in Norway, as well as in Scotland and the Shetland Isles.
"We see that a large proportion of customers order more SeaNest units after first trying it. To us this is the ultimate compliment" says Marøy.
Good welfare for cleaning fish equals good economy
There are huge amounts of cleaner fish working in the fish farming industry, and the welfare of cleaner fish is gaining an ever-increasing focus. Cleaner fish represent substantial value in purchasing, and good fish welfare is essential for survival, well-being and the efficiency of the cleaner fish when carrying out their very specialised task.
The SeaNest concept came about when we saw that habitat for cleaner fish could be created with better and more effective solutions. We understood that we could develop a solution that imitates the natural habitat of the lumpfish. And to do it in a way which makes it easy to handle, requires significantly less cleaning and safeguards the environment as the product is sturdy, compact and made to last. Estro also offers a service agreement, where customers can send their SeaNest for an overhaul.
Proven in areas with strong under water current
One of our design criteria has been for SeaNest to operate well and not deform even at exposed locations. The product's swivel function ensures just that, and we have customers who can have cleansing fish in very exposed areas after deploying SeaNest.
Practical and simple sustainability
We have a vision that we will increase sustainability, create welfare and simplify the management of lump fish, with the goal of being a leader in the development of sustainable solutions.
The feedback from fish farmers is that this is sustainability in practice: better fish welfare, very little plastic waste, less need for cleaning/flushing, and less work. And interestingly, customers report fewer lice.
"Customers tell us that they are experiencing up to 50 percent reduction in lice infestation. "These are very promising figures, which we want to support by systematic testing and registration," says Marøy.
If we sum up SeaNest with one word based on customer feedback, it is "convenient", concludes Marøy. It is reported that SeaNest is easy and quick to deploy and take out of the water after use, it has no loose parts - and marine fouling is less of a problem than for the traditional hides.
Summary of advantages
- Less marine fouling, easier and faster cleaning
- Easy handling
- Easy to deploy and take back out
- No loose parts, environmentally friendly
- Moves with underwater current
- Works well at exposed locations
- 45cm when stored, 10m in use
- Comes with a service and maintenance agreement