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The project emphasizes on the advancement of aquaculture technology systems that are economically sustainable and improve animal welfare. This includes, the use of flexible shielding skirts for prevention of ectoparasites infestation (Sealice,...) of farmed fish salmon, procedures for underwater monitoring and safe and efficient operation.

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In this project the following will be developed:

  1. A new model for flexible marine structures behavior
  2. A new underwater imagery processing to assess the effect of growing marine organisms on structures
  3. A new monitoring procedures to detect cracks and surface damage
  4. An adapted sensors deployment strategy for cost efficient structural health monitoring of complexes marine infrastructures.

This project aims to support the European aquaculture industry to commercially utilize semi-shielded flexible cages for finfish farming. The project will do this by delivering the necessary knowledge base and by developing necessary tools and methods for the design, the operations and assuring structural safety of these new type of cage.

Project objectives

  1. Develop new model for marine flexible structures to improve safety, reliability and productivity of equipment
  2. Study and predict the long-mid term effects of growing marine organisms on these structures
  3. Develop new procedure to detect and monitor damage to avoid structural breakage.
  4. Develop adapted sensors deployment strategy for cost efficient monitoring of complexes marine infrastructures.


  • WP1: Three-dimensional deformation and load on flexible marine structures
  • WP2: Underwater Image Analysis of Flexible Marine Aquaculture Structures
  • WP3: Damage Detection, Monitoring and Instrumentation Analysis in a Fluid-Structure Interaction Environment
  • WP4: Sensor Measurement Strategies for Structural Monitoring of large scale marine flexible structures


This project is funded by the Research Council in Norway and Marine Institute in Ireland and co-funded by European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the framework of ERA-NET Cofund MarTERA (Maritime and Marine Technologies for a new Era).


This project is a research collaboration between

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University
  • College Dublin
  • NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Industry partners:

  • Egersund Net AS
  • Marine Harvest in Ireland
  • BIM the Irish Sea Fisheries Board.

Expected impact of project for policy/industry/other stakeholder and future perspectives:

Results from the project are expected to pave the way for an optimum and reliable use of shielding technologies to prevent ectoparasites disease, which is responsible for huge annual losses due to increased mortality, lost growth, and reduced product quality.

Drugs and chemical bath are the main practices used to control the lice infestations. Treatment to control lice infestations in Norwegian salmon farms increased from 2013 to 2014 and represented in 2014 an estimated average cost of 2-5 NOK per kg produced salmon, (9–23% of the total production cost per kg salmon). This cost escalated to €430 million in Norway alone during 2015, not including loss of productivity. In Ireland, control of sea lice is considered to be of national importance with the export market of farmed salmon being around 64 million Euros in 2015. Furthermore, end-consumers are expressing growing apprehension about the use of drugs and chemicals during farming and food production.

The use of shielding ties in well with these objectives as it represents a clean and economical way to reduce infestation without adverse effects on fish welfare

For the fish farmers, a standard procedure for an optimal installation and maintenance of these shielding technologies will reduce drastically their expenses usually allocated to control the disease. For the providers a large impact is foreseen on growth and employment. The use of skirts are increasing but there are currently no standard (national or international) about the deployment and maintenance of these over time. It is expected that technological standards will be developed through this project.

Key Factors

Project duration

01/05/2018 - 30/04/2021


Total : 1.091.000 Euro
Norway : 750.000 Euro
Ireland : 341.000 Euro