Results and Benefits
For most species of farmed fish there is an optimum harvest size, where fish achieve a premium price compared to smaller undersized fish. Therefore a method of selecting the prime fish for harvest, whilst allowing the smaller ones to continue growing, will provide the farmer with a greater tonnage of fish and the maximum possible income. This is exactly what the 'Flexi-Panel' does.
The direct financial benefit of using the Flexi-Panel to size grade farmed salmon prior to harvest can clearly be seen in the following example, which is taken from actual harvest results.
Flexi-Panel In Use - Real Life Example
A farmer with a two essentially identical cages, each containing approximately 195 tonnes of salmon with an average weight of 2.87kg, required to harvest approximately 40 tonnes.
Comparison of un-graded harvest versus 'Flexi-Panel' graded harvest.
|Un-graded Harvest||Flexi-Panel Graded Harvest|
|Total no. of fish||13,616||9,892|
|Harvested Biomass||39,079 Kg||39,079 Kg|
|Average Weight||2.87 Kg||3.95 Kg|
|Total Harvest Value||£126,670||£137,726|
13,616 fish harvested (ungraded) value £126,670
Flexi-Panel Graded Harvest:
9,892 fish harvested (large graded) value £137,726
Benefits of size-grading prior to harvest:
- £11,056 EXTRA income to the farmer for harvesting 3724 FEWER fish.
- The average harvest weight increased by 1.08Kg
- The average price per fish increased by £4.62
- The 3724 extra 'un-harvested' fish will continue to grow to be harvested at a later date for an additional projected income of approximately £35,000.
- Based on these figures the 'Flexi-Panel' system pays for itself in one use.
NOTE: Price information sourced from Norwegian "Fish Pool" week 06, 2011
Other Benefits Of Flexi-Panel
The wider benefits of using Flexi-Panel include the following:
Flexi-Panel is very light and easy to use compared to
The grading operation is very quick and simple to carry out
even with large cages and large tonnages of fish.
The larger the size of grading panel the quicker the grading
operation is completed therefore the less stress is put on the fish.
- The large dominant fish are selected for harvest.
Small fish are not harvested and are therefore grown on to
a larger size.
- Continuity of supply of the correct size of fish can be achieved.
- Growth rates are increased as the density is reduced.
The Food Conversion Rate (FCR) is lowered by always selecting fish for harvest at the
- The lower FCR means that you can achieve lower production costs.
Welfare Benefit of Flexi Panel
Using 'Flexi-Panel' greatly improves fish farm productivity and efficiency as well as boosting the image of farmed fish.
It is widely recognised that 'passive grading' methods are best for ensuring the welfare of farmed fish.
Compared with other grading methods, the welfare benefits include:
- Reduced stress
- Reduced physical damage
- Reduced risk of handling related disease outbreaks
- No starvation required prior to grading, so no loss of growth
The Organic Food Federation - an organisation tasked with the accreditation of organic farmed fish production in the UK - has stipulated the requirement for the use of passive grading systems for all size grading operations in their "Standard for Aquaculture". A representative from the OFF said; "The Flexi-Panel grading system meets all our requirements".
Freedom Foods - the RSPCA's farm assurance and food labelling scheme dedicated to farm animal welfare - have also stated that "... [Flexi-Panel] equipment can be used by producers in the Freedom Foods scheme...".