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Gallagher fencing solution slashes sea lion attacks on Chilean salmon farms by 70%

An innovative fencing solution developed by Gallagher in Chile has reduced sea lion attacks on some salmon farms by 70%, saving the country’s US$6.5 billion salmon industry millions of dollars in fish and financial losses.   

The technology keeps farmed salmon contained and prevents sea lion attacks on the fisheries. It was developed by Gallagher in partnership with pioneering Chilean aquaculture company, Mowi Chile.

Gallagher is now working closely with global salmon farming company Trusal, who has reported a 70% reduction in sea lion attacks since the fencing was introduced.

“Chile is the second largest exporter of farmed salmon, behind Norway, but sea lions cause massive and unsustainable losses to the industry every year,” says Gallagher General Manager Chile Gonzalo Andersen.

“In 2020, we were contacted by Mowi Chile seeking a solution to prevent sea lion attacks on their fisheries. Developing customer-led innovations and technology to help our global primary industries solve problems is what we do best! So, when the Chilean salmon industry came to us for help, we knew we could partner with them to find a solution.”

The team had to navigate the harsh marine environment to develop an innovative perimeter fence that keeps sea lions out and salmon in, while prioritising animal welfare and their own safety at all times.

“The team tried and tested many options, some of which there was no record of having been developed before anywhere in the world,” says Gonzalo. “Mixing electricity and water was always going to be a challenge!”

After countless tests, the perimeter fencing solution was perfected and has now been implemented across many salmon farms across Chile.

It uses three strands of 5mm Turbo Braid and is powered up by Gallagher's MBS2800i Energizer. This allows the lines to be monitored and remote deactivation of the perimeter fence when boats are approaching. They are also working on setting up remote monitoring through Gallagher’s Wifi Gateway, which will save time and give customers even greater peace of mind.

"Chile is the world's second largest exporter of salmon and the growth potential for the Chilean market is substantial,” says Gonzalo. “We are excited to establish ourselves as pioneers in perimeter protection for an industry that is so valuable to the Chilean economy.”

Gallagher is now working with four different salmon companies to implement the perimeter fencing on their fisheries. While cost savings are still being analysed, Gonzalo says the solution is already having a positive impact on the industry.

“We are already seeing a reduction of attacks by sea lions, which is creating significant savings for losses associated with the destruction of cages and loss of salmon,” says Gonzalo. “We are excited to see where else we can apply this technology.”