Garware Technical Fibres, one of the world's largest aquaculture service companies, is trying to set itself apart from the pack with hefty investments in new products and an eye toward innovation.

The India-based company, perhaps better known for its involvement in the fishing industry, is also heavily invested in aquaculture with a leading market share across the global salmon sector in British Columbia, Scotland, Norway and Chile, Country Manager for Norway, Paal Korneliussen told IntraFish.

Starting life as a technical textile company, Garware has harnessed its knowledge of fibers to create netting that reduces fouling, escapes and lice along with the need for cleaning. This helps reduce costs that impact the bottom line of every salmon producer.

The base for Garware's new technology V2 nets, ropes and lice skirts is its own yarn, to which it adds nanoparticles of metallic copper that are aimed at significantly reducing fouling and seaweed adhesion. The result is nets that last 50 percent longer between each cleaning cycle, said Korneliussen, who began with the company in the fall of last year.

Garware Country Manager for Norway Paal Korneliussen. The Indian net and rope manufacturer has the aquaculture sector high on its agenda. Photo: Anders Furuset

By embedding the copper in the net, it also reduces copper sedimentation in the seabed, which can occur with regular antifouling paints available in the market. The copper effect in the nets lasts 4-5 years and is also used in Garware's lice skirts, a stretch of fabric added around the circumference of the netpen at the top where sea lice most happily dwell.

And here, too, Garware has seen fit to innovate, identifying issues with traditional lice skirt materials, which while blocking sea lice can also block oxygen.

"We have come up with a mesh with tiny, tiny holes that block sea lice and larvae but allow oxygen-rich water to still get through," said Korneliussen. The added benefit of this, he said, is that you can use deeper skirts in the water.

"Now our lice skirts allow for 10 meters depth, but we are looking at 15 meters also," he said. The basis of Garware's new offerings is High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) that makes for stronger nets, reduces escapes and allows pens to remain in use for a much longer time than conventional nylon nets.

HDPE also has a lower carbon footprint than other potential materials, said Korneliussen, adding this is something CEOs increasingly "want to listen to."

And "what CEOs want to listen to" has become the mantra of the company. "What are the pain points?" asks Korneliussen. "This is where we can innovate."