In recent years, Serge Ferrari has put its knowledge and expertise to work on a strategically important and challenging field of application: more efficient and responsible aquaculture. The group has been working on this issue collaboratively with Norwegian designers ECOMERDEN, a partner with more than 30 years’ experience in salmon farming technologies. Serge Ferrari has perfected a revolutionary membrane that is the strongest yet developed, and has a non-toxic surface that makes cleaning much easier. Since summer 2015, it has been used to line the walls of a closed EcoCage in Norway.
Its new development puts the company at the heart of the European Blue Growth strategy to support sustainable growth in the fish protection and marine protection sectors.
A fast-growing market
“Many countries have opted to develop aquaculture in response to the spectacular growth in consumption of aquatic products (from 10 kg to 19.7 kg per person, per year in the last 50 years) and the stagnation in fish catches that has resulted from widespread fish species depletion. That’s why today and right around the world, aquaculture is producing as much fish as possible. In France, consumer demand for aquatic products on the basis of their nutritional qualities continues to grow strongly and is currently around 34 kg per person per year”. (Source: Marine and onshore aquaculture farms: the challenges and conditions for successful sustainable development – Elodie Martinie-Cousty and Joëlle Prévot-Madère).
It is to overcome the challenges posed by aquaculture farm operation and the health of the farmed fish on consumers’ plates that Serge Ferrari has focused all its energies on developing a revolutionary flexible membrane that responds effectively to the environmental and social challenges of aquaculture, as well as the expectations of the market.
5 years of Research & Development
It all began in 2010, when the first closed aquaculture systems failed as a result of the rigid materials used. It was at this point that ECOMERDEN approached Serge Ferrari with a request to develop a flexible membrane with the ability to absorb the external stresses imposed by a hostile environment, and that would be pre-assembled in the factory before being transported to a marine farm anywhere in the world. This membrane is designed for use in a subsea cage with a standard volume of up to 17,000 m³, the concept for which was patented in 2010 by ECOMERDEN after five years of product development. The process of perfecting the membrane involved the Serge Ferrari R&D team in four years of work and development to achieve the ambitious targets set: a breaking resistance of more than 26 tonnes per linear metre!
The 80-tonne prototype installed in the Sulefisk marine farm in Norway during summer 2015 has proved its strength and delivered encouraging results: fish mortality cut by a factor of 10, a stable oxygen rate within the cage, zero risk of membrane failure, easy maintenance, a streamlined feeding regime, etc.
In partnership with designers ECOMERDEN, Serge Ferrari will reveal its latest innovations and its experimental results at the Aqua Nor international aquaculture technology exhibition from 15 to 18 August in Trondheim, Norway.