Closed Containment

NAME OF PROJECT Closed Containment

Project Scope Project Scope

The initial six months after transferring salmon smolt to sea can be very problematic with the young salmon being stressed not only by the process of smoltification but also being challenged with AGD and other environmental health issues. It is felt that if the salmon could spend the first six months in a more controlled marine environment which prevented AGD infection and other challenges, then survival and growth performance would be better.

A closed tarpaulin cage system will be developed for the on-growing of salmon at sea for the first six months. The system will be fitted with water filtration equipment installed to prevent contamination with AGD and other environmental challenges along with a waste removal system.

The trial will take place in conjunction with the Marine Institute at their Lehenagh Pool marine site. Though there has been quite a bit of work undertaken on the concept of closed containment systems abroad there is no system currently operating commercially in similar conditions to the Irish Industry. In addition, systems designed in Norway tend to be extremely capital intensive and do not have any water quality control mechanisms when introducing the water into the closed containment system. Instead they rely on pumping water from depth. This type of system cannot work on Irish salmon sites. This prototype will be designed, constructed and tested to see if the concept is technically and economically feasible.

Objectives Objectives

This project will design a flexible closed bag system that can be deployed on already existing salmon cages without significant modifcation.  It will also involve the design of a water treatment system with an empasis on footprint and power consumption. The project will also ascertain if;

Budget Budget

Maximum approved expenditure on the project totalled €50,000 corresponding to the following headings:

Achievements / Spend Achievements / Spend

A flexible closed bag system has been designed and built that can be deployed from a standard salmon cage of 50 metre circumference as found on the trial site. A compact water treatment system consisting of axial flow pump, drumfilter and open channel UV have been designed and constructed. A waste collection system has also been commissioned along with a mechanism to improve the hydraulic flow within the flexible bag. Fish have not yet been put into the system.


Summary of Spend

There was a small underspend in 2018 mainly because of the cancellation of one meeting of the NFDG in March due to inclement weather. It had also been planned to commission two communication pieces but only one was completed during 2018. 


Total Approved
Total Eligible Expenditure €50,000
Total Drawdown
EU – 50%
Exchequer – 50%


Report: Geoffrey Robinson

Date:  Jan 2019