The world’s marine and coastal environments are extremely complex, challenging and constantly changing. But they play a vital role in providing energy and food, facilitating trade, supporting economies and enhancing communities. So, when major decisions are being made about planning, design and development they should be based on the very best data and knowledge about the sea, the weather and the seabed.
The Scottish aquaculture industry, always a strongly science-led business, is on the cusp of a new technological application which will transform the sector. Loch Long Salmon (LLS), a joint venture project between Trimara Services and Simply Blue Energy, has an ambition to change salmon farming for good, by utilising low-impact farming methods involving a novel, semi-solid pen design that captures most of the feed/faecal waste. They maintain this approach will deliver environmental and fish welfare improvements as well as wider economic benefits for Scotland and its coastal communities. Their site is in Loch Long near Beinn Reithe in Argyll.
We have undertaken a number of studies for LLS during the past 18 months, which has facilitated their submission of a Planning Application to the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Planning Authority on 8th October (2021). Central to their business case for application of the semi-solid concept is waste retention efficiency; to understand and quantify the waste retention efficiency (and optimise engineering design) we performed an extensive series of iterative computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations. This modelling was supported by broad-area modelling of the regional loch hydrodynamics and nutrient dispersionmodels. Our survey team also collected current velocity profile data over 90 days close to the Beinn Reithe site to support the modelling.
Project Technical Lead Dr Jack Poleykett said: “This will be a first for the Scottish aquaculture sector, and it is exciting to be involved with such a cutting-edge company. We are delighted to support the project with our skills and experience, and hope that Beinn Reithe will be the first of many of these low-impact fish farms across the nation”.