Rob Hackney, Sites Manager of Scottish trout farmer Kames, discusses Ace Aquatec’s RT1 ADD (acoustic deterrent device) with Tom Cryans, Ace Aquatec Sales.
Tom: What was the main issue or challenge you were experiencing that led you to approach Ace Aquatec?
Rob: We had mortality caused by seals that was worse in the winter when we introduced smaller fish to the sites. The deterrent system we were using was not effective and we decided we needed something both with more support and better results.
Tom: How did Ace help you?
Ace Aquatec offers low frequency deterrents that are more compliant with the regulations so that is why we chose them. Initial equipment installation was easy. I can put it together, so it’s pretty straightforward!
The equipment was quick to deploy and robust. It’s also easy to move to other sites based on fallow and harvest.
Communication is good which is a big help to us. Ace Aquatec’s David Roska, who carries out repairs, has been quick to resolve any issues, supplying spare parts and coming to the farms when necessary. And the service is great in terms of problem solving and troubleshooting remotely, with Ace highlighting problems – such as units being turned off – that we may not have spotted ourselves. That’s the bonus of having the base stations connected online to the deterrents.
Tom: What results have you seen regarding seal predation?
Rob: There has definitely been an improvement compared to the old system. Our seal mortality is down quite significantly, although no system seems to clear away the seals completely. We have no seal predation at the moment, but we always find that from November through to February there are a lot of seals about. They’re obviously quite hungry so they hang about the sites quite a lot. But the predation hasn’t been as much of an issue this year as it has been in previous years when we used the old system. The Ace Aquatec RT1 appears to be able to cover the entire farm from just the one pod in the centre of the site. We also have one farm at the moment that doesn’t have the unit on and that does have slightly more predation than the other two.
Tom: What about online portal, maintenance and usability of the equipment in general?
Rob: Maintenance is pretty simple. Everything is just plug and play. At the moment, we’re cleaning the units quite regularly and haven’t had anything fail. I think the last thing was a I2C fault, an online update perhaps. And I think we’ve had an ethernet box that was broken, but David Roska was there in a few days to replace that. The online portal is easy to understand and the interface display makes it easy to do whatever you need to do.
Tom: Would you work with ace Aquatec again and would you recommend us?
Rob: Yes and yes, I definitely would. I think we’ve seen that the RT1s are effective. They tick the box in terms of low frequency. The equipment is easy to use, it’s easy for all the guys to understand and the support is good. I would rent another unit if required and would recommend Ace.