UCO develops new ROV-deployed system for immediate repair to fish farm nets

UCO NetFix repair system

ABERDEEN-based Underwater Contracting (UCO), a leading provider of underwater services to the offshore energy, inspection, construction, and aquaculture markets has developed a unique ROV-deployed system to repair small holes in fish farm nets.

The UCO NetFix repair system places plastic patches over holes in cage netting. Held firmly in position by pegs, the patches remain in place until the hole is permanently repaired by a dive team or when the nets are lifted to the surface. 

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Small holes, which can be made by predators or if equipment becomes snagged during operations, are identified during routine containment checks by ROV or during net washing. Until now, these would require calling out a dive team at short notice to carry out repairs, a time consuming and expensive process. NetFix uses the onsite ROV to carry out an immediate repair, ensuring containment of all stock.

Deployed using a frame attached to the inspection class ROV, the semi-permanent repair is compatible with on-going net washing activity as the patch sits flush with the inside of the net. Planned permanent repairs by the dive team can then be scheduled. The patches and plugs, which are easily removed by a diver, are reusable.

The deployment frame can be made to fit any regular inspection ROV. Patch size is 200mm x 200mm with peg size dependent on netting size.

The Scottish Government’s recently published Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture, which sets out its long-term aspirations for the sector, highlights that innovation across a wide range of disciplines has driven the development of Scottish aquaculture.

“UCO specialises in pioneering innovative solutions which support the ongoing growth of the sector which is a significant contributor to our economy,” said Mick Bower, managing director of Aberdeen-headquartered UCO.

“Breaches of containment damage the reputation and the farmer and can be very costly. NetFix now provides the solution to reduce the risk of lost stock by immediate repair of small holes.

“We are fully supportive of the Scottish Government’s aspirations for the future of the sector to 2045 and beyond. One of the ways of demonstrating sustainable aquaculture in the context of environment and biodiversity is to aim for 100 per cent containment.”

Formed in 2017, UCO is part of Ocean Marine Group with sister companies Pirie & Smith and ETPM. UCO is exhibiting at the AquaNor trade exhibition in Trondheim, Norway from August 22-24 as part of the Scottish Pavilion.

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