Since 2011, MARINTEK has been heavily involved in testing conventional sea-cages and new concepts. There has been a great deal of interest in surveying the capacities of existing facilities.
Special focus has been put on securing them against escapes. Farmed salmon escaped through holes in sea-cage nets during the "Berit" and "Dagmar" storms in late autumn 2011, and model tests in MARINTEK's Ocean Laboratory showed that the nets were damaged by whips blows from vertical chains under conditions of high waves and strong currents. Trials of new designs resulted in improved netting systems. One system has later been patented, and several such cages have already been supplied to the industry.
The Aqualine company was nominated for the 2013 Innovation Prize at the international Aqua-Nor Trade Fair in Trondheim, for its newly developed "Aqualine Midgard System" sea-cages. The system offers new possibilities for aquaculture at particularly exposed locations, and was developed in collaboration with MARINTEK, following comprehensive testing the Ocean Laboratory.
In spring 2013, a systematic series of tests was performed to study traditional sea-cage systems. Variants of a number of components were tested in order to evaluate the potential for improvements in existing installations. The tests were financed by the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF), and was a cooperative project of MARINTEK and SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture.
In 2013, NTNU carried out a series of experimental studies in one of MARINTEK's laboratories, in which a conventional sea-cage containing 800 small salmon was tested under various wave and current conditions. The aim was to find out whether the fish in a sea-cage affect its mooring system. The study revealed that they had only a slight effect on mooring forces, even with the maximum permitted volume of fish of 2.5% of the total volume of the sea-cage.