Copper Alloy Mesh Moves Mainstream

By Langley Gace

In February of this year, 105,000 Atlantic salmon were introduced to copper-alloy mesh pens on the west coast of Vancouver Island by Mainstream Canada, a salmon farming company in British Columbia. We were on-site at Mainstream’s Plover Point farm, near Tofino, B.C. in December and February, working with staff members on two copper- alloy mesh pen installations. This coming September, the “smolt,” or young salmon, will be released from the smolt nets that are inside of the copper-alloy net.

This will be an exciting event for Mainstream. Durable copper alloy mesh protects salmon from predator attacks and reduces escapes of farm-raised fish. Copper-alloy mesh pens also resist biofouling, improve water circulation, and inhibit pathogens from growing and infecting the contained fish population, allowing for a healthy growth cycle. The copper mesh will reduce needs for antibiotic treatments of the fish and eliminates the need for antifouling coatings.

It’s been great to hear that Mainstream staff are pleased with results from the copper mesh to date. We plan to revisit Mainstream in July and September for the release of the salmon from smolt nets to copper-alloy pens. While there we’ll document the experience on video for our Aquaculture Visual Media Page. In the meantime, Mainstream has a video of the Plover Point Farm that can currently be viewed on their website.

Some additional information about the copper-alloy pens and Mainstream, Canada:
The copper-alloy pens were assembled and installed in December 2012 at Plover Point. Mainstream Canada produces approximately 25,000 metric tons of farm-fresh Atlantic salmon annually at 27 sea sites off the west and east coasts of Vancouver Island. Read more about Mainstream, Canada on our CuAquaculture.org interactive map and on Mainstream’s website.