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Creatively cleaning nets like a boss

Errol, one of Creative’s Net Technicians, with the AutoBoss

The nets that set the perimeter of pens and keep Creative Salmon safe from predators and those that keep fish contained while they grow are arguably the most important tools of the trade in marine aquaculture. And, like any tool, they need to be cleaned and maintained regularly.

“The condition of our nets is important to fish welfare. Clean nets help keep fish healthy and reduce stress,” says Ian Francis, Creative’s Operations Manager.

Like anything submerged in the ocean, debris, algae, and other plant life and organisms can collect on the nets, restricting water flow and access to the dissolved oxygen that fish need to thrive.

Keeping nets clean is a big job. Between the four Creative sites, there are the predator barrier nets plus, typically, 35 grower nets in the water. With an average size of about 30-metres long and 30-metres wide, each net represents a massive amount of surface area.

Luckily for the Creative crew, an innovative technology called the AutoBoss – a smart net-washing robot – has changed the way Creative keeps its nets clean during grow-out cycles.

The AutoBoss Robot

“Before we started using cleaning systems like the AutoBoss, we had to do ‘net changes,’ which meant hauling nets out of the water and power washing them by hand,” says Ian.

This process required a crew of 15 using a boat-mounted crane to get the nets on a cleaning float. From there, each net took a three-person crew about two days to clean.

While nets are still changed out when fish enter a new growth stage, routine cleaning with the AutoBoss means manual net cleaning now takes a fraction of the time. Once the 950kg AutoBoss robot is lowered into a pen, it glides along each net while its four-disc washing head applies jets of pressurized sea water to remove debris. Following a preprogrammed pattern, the AutoBoss can cover up to 1500m² of surface area per hour.

This means that the AutoBoss – and its Creative operator – can thoroughly clean up to three nets in a single day.

“We’re always look for new ways and technology to make our jobs better, especially when it comes to saving time and being more sustainable,” says Ian. “Once we saw the AutoBoss in action, we knew it would be a perfect fit for Creative.”

For more information on the AutoBoss’s technology, visit:


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