We take a deeper dive aboard Wellboats, the increasing use of disinfection systems on vessels serving the aquaculture sector to transport livestock safely and why UV light is a better solution for the growing industry feeding an ever-growing population.

Wellboats – the benefits of UV lamp-based disinfection systems

When fish stock needs to be transported by a vessel there is the challenge to keep the fish safely enclosed and in healthy water for the duration of the voyage. To do this it usually means using a ‘wellboat’.
Posted: Friday, 24 March 2023

The aquaculture sector is a booming industry, and as farmed fish are a key part of the world's food production; the industry relies on being able to transport fish stock from farms for re-location, delousing and processing. Wellboats utilise a storage space full of water in the middle of their hull. This ‘well’ typically uses a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) for ongoing filtration and removal of suspended matter and metabolites to keep the water clean and provide a healthy environment for the fish to live in.

Onboard disinfection systems – how it works…  

A RAS can use various ways to keep a wellboat water clean but one of the more popular ways is via ultraviolet light technology. When water is taken onboard, the disinfection system processes the seawater with a powerful dose of UV light. UV light eliminates pathogens in the water allowing for the livestock to be housed and transported safely, without risk of chemical or viral contamination. 

Why ultraviolet light is a better solution.  

As UV technology has progressed, its application in the aquaculture industry and ships like wellboats is a viable solution to existing problems that many marine vessels face. Medium-pressure lamps used in disinfection processes are relatively small which is beneficial when the use of space is at a premium, especially if a ‘retrofit’ is needed in an older vessel. This size advantage in itself is much less costly than the need for an entirely new ship or a complete redesign/installation of its form and function.  

Other challenges associated with disinfection processes that are chemical based are no longer a concern with the use of UV technology. UV can render microbes inactive that have developed a resistance to chemical treatments over time, the process also produces zero chemical by-products in the water or stock and reduces chemical handling for the crew of the wellboat. Overall, the installation, use and maintenance of a UV-based system are much more efficient, safe and simplified, compared to a chemical-based solution.     

Another reason why utilising a UV-based disinfection system for the wellboat industry is becoming widely implemented, is due to the disinfection process not influencing key water properties, such as temperature, pH, and oxygen levels. This further compliments the optimal conditions for the transported fish. 

Beyond the wellboat - how UV can benefit business, industry, and the planet...

Wellboats can use UV lamps to help purify not only the housing water for the fish, but the technology also allows for the discharge of clean and hygienic ballast water back into the sea without cross-contamination for species, ecosystems, and the planet. Businesses and the aquaculture industry could grow and prosper by embracing UV light-based systems on wellboats and beyond because of the benefits demonstrated. The technology also enables fish farms to grow by:

  • Increasing stock densities
  • Destroying the bacteria or viruses that cause illness in species
  • Reducing mortality rates
  • Transporting safer, more efficiently, more often, with less risk of disease to wild livestock and sea waters. 

For more information on how Alpha-Purify UV lamps could help you operate more efficiently, Contact Us.