Aquatraz is a semi closed fish cage preventing sea lice, escaped salmon and improving fish welfare
Aquatraz is a semi closed fish cage preventing sea lice, escaped salmon and improving fish welfare. Foto: MNH/Steinar Johansen

The Aquatraz is a semi closed fish cage designed to improve fish welfare and prevent salmon from escaping. The Aquatraz prevents one of the biggest problems in the fish farming industry, sea lice. The fish cage also provides a stable and safe platform for workers, with automated operations. Aquatraz has a lifting system which allows the cage to be lifted out of the water. This simplifies cleaning, disinfection, maintenance, and delivery of fish.

By pumping out the fish from the bottom of the cage, Aquatraz utilizes the salmon’s behavioural patterns, thereby reducing stress and improving animal welfare.

Midt-Norsk Havbruk was granted four development licenses in 2017 based on the Aquatraz technology. Two cages from the first generation Aquatraz have been tested in full production cycle with promising results. In late 2019, two more cages from the improved second generation Aquatraz will start their first production cycle. 

As part of the development project the 160 meter Aquatraz have received dispensation to hold 400.000 fish and to use a fish density of 45 kg/m3. A higher amount of fish and increased density is important to reduce the fish farming environmental impact and to reduce the production cost.

The Aquatraz looks like an interesting project that can help the industry gain better control over existing health and welfare challenges like lice, heart health, gill health and injuries sustained by salmon during handling.

Trygve Poppe, Professor NMBU

Check out thesevideos of Aquatraz in action

The Aquatraz is connected to a well boat, with flexible delivery pipes, ready to deliver fish.
The Aquatraz is continuously elevated while fish is pumped over to the well boat, through delivery pipes connected to the bottom of the cage.
The Aquatraz is completely elevated as the last fish is pumped over to the well boat. Delivering fish through the bottom of the cage utilizes the fish natural behavior to swim to the bottom. This method improves fish welfare.