EcoSeaTech LLC – the Osaka, Japan-based subsidiary of EcoSea Farming SpA, headquartered in Santiago, Chile – is trialing submersible cage systems using copper-alloy netting in Japan.

By Chris Loew, (Source:

The parent company, EcoSea Farming, which has a decade of experience in making offshore net systems for various species around the world, utilizes UR30 copper alloy that is patented and produced for aquaculture use by Mitsubishi Materials Corporation. It has anti-fouling, anti-microbial, and anti-corrosion properties.

Copper curbs biofouling, such as adhesion of algae, sea moss, sea anemones, barnacles, and mollusks. When these materials accumulate, they can block the flow of water and reduce the oxygen level in the net pen, while increasing pathogens and parasites. Thus, preventing their accumulation helps reduce mortality and improves growth and feed conversion.

Nylon netting typically must be cleaned by divers about every seven months, but with copper-alloy netting, the frequency of cleaning can be significantly reduced. Even when cleaning is performed, removal is easy, as attachment is weaker. Since underwater work can be expensive and dangerous, reducing it is advantageous. Copper alloy is also stronger than nylon, so it helps prevent predators like sea lions from breaking into nets.

The EcoSea systems’ design and construction – featuring surface and submersible operation – provides structural integrity making it weatherproof as well as escape- and predator-proof. With contracted maintenance, EcoSea provides 10-year operational guarantee. At end of life, the netting is recyclable.

The drawbacks of copper alloy are cost and weight. As for cost, the longer product-life, reduced cleaning work, better fish health, and end-of-life recycle value of copper tends to offset the initial cost, according to the company.

EcoSea doesn’t just sell netting, but designs and sells large circular submersible cage systems for offshore use as well. The increased weight of copper means that flotation must be increased accordingly, however, in some situations, weight is a good thing as it keeps the net from losing its shape or tangling, especially in rough seas, the company said.

EcoSeaTech Business Development Manager Kyoko Nagai said the company’s system allows the cages to submerge smoothly to avoid rough offshore conditions such as high waves. The cages are also designed to accommodate automatic feeding systems and a mortality extraction system.

EcoSeaTech in Japan has been trialing an installation of round nets with a diameter of 20 meters in Kyushu.

“Since the Japanese government is promoting exports of buri [yellowtail], we think the production will increase. However as there are limited concessions available nearshore, offshore production can provide a viable solution, so EcoSeaTech plans to seize this opportunity,” Nagai said.

It has also designed new smaller square cage systems, such as 8×8 or 10×10 meters, to meet the site conditions of existing buri farmers. Four such cages are being installed at a site in Kyushu.

Chile: The EcoSea Farming Spa consortium will begin the prototype stage at Invermar’s Traiguén 2 center, located in Achao, to develop ocean aquaculture in the country.

By Jonathan Garcés (translation from original article:

Two technological consortiums presented yesterday the progress of their ocean aquaculture projects in the framework of the III Aquaculture Summit organized by Corfo, whose investments reach $ 22 billion CLP for an execution of six years, initially experimental.

One of these consortiums is EcoSea Farming Spa, in a project that began in June 2018, within the Technological Development Program for Ocean Aquaculture. According to what was exposed in Corfo’s conference by its R&D manager, who is also Project Leader of Fraunhofer Chile Research, Álex Brown; they are currently developing their first stage of execution.

In this first stage, they are building the first 40 meter diameter submersible cage r for their prototyping unit, which is located in the town of Achao, in Invermar’s Traiguén 2 center, site  classified as “half energy”. “It will be ready in 20 days and will be the largest in the world, with an extension of 40×12 meters and a capacity of 18,400 m3, for 50,000 smolt and 312 tons,” said the executive.

Then, from 2022, the piloting process will begin by expanding the submersible cage raft to an extension of 70×15 meters and with a capacity of 74 thousand m3, for 279 thousand smolt and about 1,300 tons, in an exposed area, of “high energy”, where Subpesca defines, “for which you do not need a suitable area (AAA), if so decided,” Brown said.

This project, managed by EcoSea Farming Spa, is working with Sitecna on pontoons, with Aex Group for mooring technologies, Innovex for remote control and Novatech for mortality management.

Also, the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso supports the initiative in terms of human capital, and Fraunhofer Research Chile in seeking the best regulatory and environmental conditions. Subpesca and Sernapesca are also part of the project.

Benefits and Challenges

 Meanwhile, the R&D manager of Ecosea Farming Spa exhibited the benefits of ocean aquaculture. “It is a competitive solution for the creation of new cultivation areas in the country, it is possible to develop the activity far from vulnerable or disputed zones, diminishing social pressures, also the site is not affected by the swaying of the tides and it is presumed a lesser use of therapeutic products and a greater capacity of dispersion of residues”.

While among the challenges of ocean aquaculture in Chile are “the few competitive off shore projects, together with the fact that there are no ocean pontoons and the low existence of anchorage for these initiatives. In terms of regulation, the state requires environmental information, so we need Offshore sites (AAA), and should allow activity up to 200 maritime miles,” Brown said.

August 20, 2018

Osaka, Japan–EcoSea announced the launch of its Japan-based operations, the newly formed company is a 100% subsidiary of EcoSea Farming SpA, an Aquaculture Technology Service Company with headquarters in Puerto Montt Chile.

Through its state-of-the-art technology including a globally unique off-shore farming aquaculture system utilizing UR30ST* copper alloy mesh. EcoSea will provide its technology to customers throughout Asia to support sustainable, eco-friendly, highly productive aquaculture farming.

A demonstration center is now in planning and expected to be stocked with fish early spring 2019.

EcoSea will continue to embrace new challenges to deliver sustainable, financially sound, and environmentally friendly solutions including leasing package by JA Mitsui Leasing for the aquaculture industry.


Name: EcoSea
Location: 556-0011 19F, Namba Parks Tower, 2-10-70 Nanbanaka, Naniwa-ku, Osaka, Japan
Phone: +81-(0)6-7662-8931
Fax: +81-(0)6-7662-8701
Name of Representative: Craig J. Craven

*Product of Mitsubishi Shindoh Co., Ltd.

December 30, 2017

EcoSea Farming SpA’s (EcoSea) surfaced near shore containment systems for salmon in Chile were acquired by JA Mitsui Leasing (JAML) of Japan. EcoSea manages and maintains the pens previously owned by Innovaciones en Cobre S.A., a consolidated subsidiary of Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO), a state-owned copper mining company in Chile.

EcoSea’s CEO, Craig J. Craven, said the acquisition is a step forward in providing our technology to farms around the world and will lead to improved quality of fish, better environmental performance, and more profitable farming operations. EcoSea is pleased to be in cooperation with JAML and look forward to a long-term partnership.

EcoSea is committed to providing environmentally-friendly and sustainable marine aquaculture solutions that help farming operations maximize output and revenue. EcoSea provides offshore submersible systems as well as surfaced near shore containment systems.

EcoSea technology supports farming operations with improved farm production metrics by providing system hardware; copper alloy pens, monitoring equipment, feeding systems, system services; system monitoring for optimal performance, system maintenance for long life, harvest and treatment procedures.

JA Mitsui Leasing’s acquisition of the systems in Chile is the first of many planned leasing arrangements within the country. JAML and EcoSea are cooperating to provide financing and high-performance farming systems around the globe. JAML will expand its leasing business for copper alloy aquaculture systems in the global arena as a financial service partner for EcoSea. EcoSea in collaboration with its business partners, strives to strengthen aquaculture business with its unique products and technical expertise.

For more information please contact EcoSea Farming SpA at [email protected] or visit our website at

The Atacama Desert in Chile, long considered the oldest and driest desert with some areas akin to the planet Mars, is home to a unique experiment in marine aquaculture.

Funded by the Chilean government under the auspices of Corfo (Corporación de Fomento de la Producción de Chile) and executed by EcoSea, two projects were carried out.

The first project was between January 2013 and August 2014 and the second was between January 2016 and November 2017. The second project yielded a harvest of more than 1 ton of Yellowtail Kingfish (Seriola lalandi), a promising resource not only for Chile but for global consumption as well.

The technology developed by EcoSea, consisted of a submersible aquaculture pen with copper alloy mesh designed for an offshore environment with waves up to 9 meters and currents up to 2 knots (1.03 m/sec).

The operation, which lasted more than 4 years off the coast of Flamenco, 30 km south of Chañaral and anchored 1.5 nautical miles (2.8 km) from the shore, was able to overcome major challenges such as the 2014 and 2015 tsunamis in northern Chile following the magnitude 8 earthquakes near the cities of Iquique and Coquimbo.

The presence of large ocean swells also had no impact on the system as the pen easily submerges and surfaces in a few minutes. In this regard Javier Tapia, Operations Manager of EcoSea, commented that “there is no more proven offshore technology than ours, however this system still requires some adjustments and complements that will be solved during 2018” he concluded.

Gabriel Olivares, head of the center and responsible for the execution of the projects in Flamenco, maintains that the cultivation and fattening of fish in northern Chile is almost impossible with traditional containment nets, since fouling is very aggressive. Keeping traditional nets clean is a never-ending job, extreme wave conditions are not a safe work environment. Copper alloy mesh pens offer a good solution to these issues, they are fouling resistant, safe and much more resistant than traditional networks to the forces of nature.
The conclusion of these projects is that Seriola offers great possibilities to be cultured in the northern seas of Chile, is very resistant to handling and has good growth in water temperatures above 17ºC.

In a small, quiet village in Western Japan, steam billows out of the surrounding mountains, natural hot mineral water flows into the village onsens (hot springs) soothing aching bones of the many appreciating guests. From the baths, one can see the glistening sea, work boats puttering from pen to pen checking their fish as their ancestors have been doing for generations. Things are changing here though, and this small farming village is at the forefront of cutting edge aquaculture technology. In the group of 30 small pens, two unique ones exist, instead of standard synthetic mesh or conventional steel wire mesh, they are using copper alloy mesh.

EcoSea Farming’s copper alloy mesh

The difference is immediately apparent when peering into the pens from above; the gold color mesh can be seen until it disappears in the deepest water. The neighboring pens, using more traditional mesh, are blackened by fouling which inhibits the flow of water isolating the fish from the world outside. These two pens were set up as a demonstration to show the benefits of using copper alloy mesh for aquaculture production.

Japan is an aging country. Most young people prefer the glamor and bustle of the city and have little interest in performing manual labor nor living in small quiet villages. This trend is one of the many reasons why it is imperative that farmers learn how to feed the world with older and fewer staff.  EcoSea’s copper alloy aquaculture pens reduce the hours needed to maintain the pens, divers are required less frequently, and cleaning the mesh is something more or less of the past.  Farmers can focus their efforts on raising crops instead of washing or changing nets as they have had to do for years. This demonstration only used a subset of EcoSea Farming’s technology; implementing additional EcoSea technology would further reduce necessary staffing while increasing crop yields, produce a better and consistent quality product, and raise farm profitability. Fish raised in this environment will meet and exceed international certification requirements and increase the potential to supply products overseas, changing Japan from a net importer to a major exporter of high-quality fish to the rest of the world.

EcoSea plans to change the Japanese aquaculture industry for the better. Our vision includes farmers with large offshore systems producing top quality fish in an environmentally sustainable way. The two small copper alloy mesh pens that were set up in that remote village in Western Japan were just the first step towards EcoSea’s dream of seeing kitchens around the world stocked with high-quality fish produced in Japan.

Demonstration Results

The results in this chart compare a copper alloy pen (A1) against a metal alloy pen (E6) control. A total of 4 pens were used in the demonstration, two test pens and two control pens, all sized 10m X 10m X 8m. The results of all pens were nearly identical to the two selected for this chart. The testing period was from November 2016 through May 2017.  In November 2016,  Seriola quinqueradiata (BURI), weighing about 2.5kgs each, was placed into the pens; the fish were harvested in May 2017 and weighed approximately 5.5kgs each. The fish were fed a diet of extruded pellets (EP) designed specifically for this species. The specific growth rate (SGR) demonstrated an improvement of about 40% over the control pens and approximately a 45% reduction in accumulated mortalities. A sizeable improvement in the feed conversion ratio (FCR) rates were also observed.

It is important to note that for this demonstration that only the nets were changed; two pens with metal nets were replaced with copper alloy mesh nets. No special technology from EcoSea framing was applied, which confirms that incremental improvements can be realized from switching to copper alloy mesh. Utilizing EcoSea systems and technology combined would yield significantly improved results.

EcoSea will launch a new center in Western Japan consisting of ten 30m diameter submersible pens. The system is fully automated with 24/7 monitoring and feeding. The pens are nearly always submerged and surfaced only for maintenance. As the site is subject to intense typhoons, submerging the pens will protect them from damage, being in an offshore location will ensure good quality pen environment without harming the surrounding area. The presence of typhoons makes it necessary to have a detachable feeding system that can berth in port during high seas.

EcoSea will be at booth number 32-24 at the Japan International Seafood & Technology Expo in Tokyo Japan August 23 – 25.