Week 36 – Department of Civil Engineering research vessel ‘Strathclyde’, near Fort William, 1966
[Archives reference: OP 3/6]
In 1965 the White Fish Authority, today’s Sea Fish Industry Authority or ‘Seafish’, established a fruitful collaboration with the Civil Engineering department of the University of Strathclyde. The aim of the project was to investigate the potential of exploiting the firths of the North-West coast of Scotland to create a number of fish farms.
The Research Vessel ‘Strathclyde’ sailed over the surface of the Scottish lochs for more than a decade, gathering useful data on ease of access to the lochs, water depth, strength of currents, tidal range and volume, average rainfall and exposure to winds, salinity, temperature and dissolved oxygen rates in the water.
Afterwards, a research team led by P. H. Milne worked on the design and construction of concrete seawalls on a site chosen by the White Fish Authority at Ardtoe, Argyll with the objective of moving progressively seawards and switching to a system of cages at sea. The tanks were designed to be refilled by the rising tide to maintain the salinity of the water and the optimal level of oxygen.
Between the 1960s and the 1970s a further collaboration took place with the University’s Biology Department to test marine fouling on different nettings and to devise a system whereby the fish were transferred in cages of different sizes as they grew, leaving the hatchery cages in the tanks on the shore to guarantee full control of the environment during this delicate phase.