MUKWONAGO, WI — Banker Wire recently partnered with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute in Carlsbad, CA, to design and weave copper-alloy 'fish pens'. Scientists are using the innovative pens to conduct research with important implications for international aquaculture.
The International Copper Association, in conjunction with Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and the American Soybean Association, deployed the three 2-by-2-by-2 meter full-cycle copper-net pens in July 2013. Hubbs scientists are currently comparing the development of juvenile white seabass living in copper-net pens with that of fish in traditional nylon cages as part of an ongoing white seabass wild stock enhancement program. The International Copper Association and its project partners will use the study to explore the potential of copper alloy mesh aquaculture pens for developing regions in Asia and throughout the world.
The International Copper Association and Luvata, the manufacturer of the copper wire used on the pens, turned to Banker Wire for help with their design and manufacturing. Banker Wire responded with a modular, easily shippable design that can be constructed using only traditional fasteners – such as nuts, bolts and lock washers – and common wrenches. The nets' simple design contributes to the viability of their use in developing regions.
"We had 5 or 6 iterations of the design," says Langley Gace, Aquaculture Applications Development Manager at the International Copper Association. "Banker Wire was extremely responsive to our needs during the design process and even after installation."
Banker Wire wove the panels using Luvata Seawire™, a copper alloy wire specifically formulated for aquaculture applications. Because of its natural corrosion resistance and metallurgical and biological properties, copper alloy is well suited for marine use, and Banker Wire formed it into a weave that met this application's very specific requirements.
The wire used was 0.080" in diameter, woven by Banker Wire in a flat top crimp style. This crimp creates a smooth surface in the pens' interiors, enabling a "fish-friendly" environment. The structure and rigidity provided by woven wire mesh allows the pens to maintain their shape against ocean waves and currents, which prevents fish crowding. Openings of ¼" in the semi-rigid mesh keep fish safe without ensnaring and harming potential predators.
"Banker Wire woven wire mesh has a unique combination of mechanical strength, durability and flexibility," says Michelle Eastburn, Product Engineering Manager at Banker Wire. "Those characteristics make Banker Wire products incredibly versatile and are essential for the creation of effective aquaculture structures."
The copper-net pens aim to allow more environmentally and financially sustainable aquaculture – making it a more feasible industry for developing regions. Copper-alloy mesh stays naturally clean, eliminating the need for added antibiotics and anti-fouling chemicals and lowering overall maintenance costs. Banker Wire's weaving process produces very little scrap, and copper-alloy mesh, which lasts for six years or more, is fully recyclable. Moreover, the pens' design allows farmers to stock juveniles that will grow to market-sized fish throughout their lifespan, eliminating the need for additional nursery pens.
The pens will be removed from the water in December 2013. Scientists at Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute plan to use them for further research, and the International Copper Association will initiate studies in Vietnam based on lessons-learned in California.
See a video of the fish pens in use at http://www.bankerwire.com/architectural-wire-mesh/news.php.
For more information about the Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, visit http://www.hswri.org/. Learn more about the International Copper Association at cuaquaculture.com and copperalliance.org.
About Banker Wire: Banker Wire is the world's leading manufacturer of woven and welded wire mesh for architectural and industrial applications. With the most modern and productive mill in the U.S., Banker Wire provides custom-weaved material for any aesthetic on any scale – from intricate design highlights to expansive building facades. Banker Wire's investment in its people and equipment provides its customers with innovative and value-based products that solve problems and exceed expectations. For more information, call 1-800-523-6772 or visit www.bankerwire.com.