Fifteen years ago Tooltech, now trading as TTP Plastics by Design , designed and manufactured the Aquatray, a versatile plastic grow-out tray, complete with clip-in lid and other accessories, for Cameron of Tasmania’s large oyster farm. The versatility and many features of this lidded Aquatray ensured that it quickly became very popular in Aquaculture for the farming of not only oysters, but also other shellfish such as scallops, abalone and pearl oysters, throughout Australia.
The Aquatray’s popularity within aquaculture and use spread to other parts of the world – and it is now being used in several overseas countries, particularly the United States, New Zealand , United Kingdom and France, and other parts of Europe.
In more recent times, the Aquatray’s robust lid, which is moulded in 8mm and 20mm mesh, has found an alternative and most practical use. Initiated by Good Fortune Bay farm manager Rod Pelling at their Kelso Barramundi fish farm near Townsville, the lid was cleverly and economically used to construct cages by cable tying them together, attaching to flotation , and then placing them in large ponds next to paddle aerators, where several thousand fingerlings (Barramundi, Cobia etc) are housed in each cage and then grown out for their required period.
Many other aquaculture farms have since followed suit, and are using a similar farming method with the Aquatray lids. They are enthusiastic about these cages, particularly as they are anything but cumbersome, easy and economic to assemble. The plastic does not rust, corrode or break down like metal, but lasts for many years and is easily cleaned of marine biofouling if required.
To further enhance the lid use, TTP Plastics by Design is now planning to assist users by making and providing an even quicker and more economical method of assembly, eliminating the need for cable ties. To do this, a specially configured plastic extrusion accessory into which the lids will slot, is in the process of being designed and tooled.
The Queensland Primary Industries and Northern Fisheries Centre in Cairns use the Aquatray lids to configure the pond cage with polypipe flotation, and are currently looking at conducting Broodstock diet trials with the aquaculture cages.
A prototype of the extrusion was displayed at the annual Australian Prawn and Barramundi Conference and Trade Show held recently in Townsville. TTP Plastics by Design’s Marketing and Export Manager, Reg Breakwell, said that the accessory is expected to be available later in the year .