A salmon farming company is putting a new £1.9 million vessel into operation to help safeguard the health and welfare of its fish.
And the new boat has a very clear connection to the isles – named, as it is, Fair Isle.
The 21 metre vessel has been acquired by Scottish Sea Farms, which plans to use her to protect fish health – particularly gill health, currently one of the main threats to farmed salmon globally.
Built at the Dutch yard Nauplius and featuring a wide deck with 60-tonne carrying capacity, the vessel is the latest – and biggest – addition to the company’s fleet.
It says Fair Isle will work primarily in Scottish Sea Farms’ northerly regions.
This, in turn, frees up existing workboat, the Sally Ann, to service the company’s mainland farms.
Marine engineering manager for Scottish Sea Farms’ Shetland region, Keith Fraser, said: “With a service speed of eight knots, she’ll be very flexible and can steam between regions and move around as required. She can even travel to mainland farms to help with treatments, if needed.”
Designed to withstand the extreme weather conditions of Shetland and Orkney, the boat boasts a large HS Marine deck crane with three times the lifting capacity of Scottish Sea Farms’ other boats in the area.
The Fair Isle will also contribute towards the company’s ongoing roll-out of protective ‘Seal Pro’ netting systems.
The company’s regional manager for the isles Graham Smith said: “Seal predation is a major threat to fish health, causing stress, harm and even death, so we have been installing Seal Pro netting systems extensively in the drive to deter seals from preying on our livestock.
“The Fair Isle has a key role to play in this, enabling us to transport and install the newer, heavier duty netting more easily than before.”