It was 2016 and Oyster Boss was shopping for the right equipment to use on our farms. While setting up the infrastructure on the farms, we had already been testing and using an oyster aquaculture method referred to as "Australian Long Line", which was highly recommended by our local Community College's aquaculture program.
The problem? After setting up the farms with the Australian Long Line systems (also known as "SEAPA") it became obvious that our area of the world did not have enough tidal differentiation between low and high to sufficiently allow for the required air drying of the oysters contained within the cages. Because of this, the biofouling inside the cages was extreme. What to do?
We began to invest in apparatus that we referred to internally as "condos". These are 4, 6 and 9-bag cages that have two large pontoons attached. They become very heavy when laden with product, must be flipped over for the required air-drying of the oysters inside as much as once per week. They are much more workable than the Seapa technology ... but much more expensive.
I asked repeatedly, however, of our vendors to tell me the LIFE EXPECTANCY of the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of "condos" we were buying, and could not get an answer from any of them. What I needed the information for was to set up amortization schedules in our accounting systems. Did they not KNOW the answer? Or did they willfully wish to avoid the question?
I was finally able to squeeze "TEN YEARS" from one of the vendors ... which seemed to be nothing more than an effort to blow me off and hope that I'd go away. Now, just 3-4 short years later, the answer is obvious: we are rehabilitating, repairing and giving major amounts of maintenance to more and more and more of this type of gear every single day. And, to date we have completely rehabilitated and repaired nearly 100 of our "condo" cages.
If you'd like to learn from our experiences, and by doing so, extend the life of your own fleet of cages, get in touch. If you would like to share some of those items that you've learned, please do so. Meanwhile, don't throw that broken gear away, it still has value. Much, much more to come on this subject....