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Aquaculture company uses Toyota forklift truck to harvest farm salmon

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Van Diemen Aquaculture, an aquaculture company is using a Toyota forklift truck to harvest farm salmon in Tasmania. Van Diemen Aquaculture uses the 2.5-tonne payload Toyota 8FG25 forklift to handle up to 50 one-tonne fish bins a day.

Van Diemen Aquaculture farms Atlantic salmon on the Tamar River, just north of Launceston.

According to Van Diemen Aquaculture, farming fish is similar to on-land farming, you need reliable equipment, otherwise your time to market is not competitive and you lose business.

"When you have an order to fill, you need to do it immediately," said Andrew Mitton of Van Diemen Aquaculture.

Mr Mitton has been in the industry for more than 18 years and has been building a relationship with FRM Materials Handling in Tasmania.

FRM Materials Handling has been in business for more than 25 years in Tasmania and specialises in providing services to the materials handling industry.

FRM Materials Handling has 40 staff and 20 mobile workshops providing a statewide 24/7 capability for service and parts. FRM Materials Handling sells new and used Toyota forklifts, Toyota skid-steer loaders and towing tractors, and has a fleet management service as well as long- and short-term forklift hire.

Van Diemen currently farms 20 salmon enclosures, each a little over 5,500 cubic meters. All the enclosures are surrounded by a 3.2-meter-wide driveway, which allows the Toyota 8-series forklifts to traverse them to perform a variety of jobs.

"The Toyota 8-Series FG25 forklift is ideal for harvesting," Mr Mitton said. "It has a bin rotator, which is essential for this operation. During a daily harvest run there can be up to 50 one-tonne bins to move out onto the water to be filled with harvest fish."

Van Dieman Aquaculture grows and harvests around 1,500 tonnes of Atlantic salmon a year, so the forklifts are busy not just harvesting but feeding the hungry fish.

The 1.8-tonne mid-sized forklift is used often for carrying the tonnes of fish food that are loaded into one of four hoppers. Each hopper takes a one-tonne bag of food, which is then blown over the water to feed the salmon via a feeding system and pipe work.

The 1.5-tonne forklift is the baby of the group. Mr Mitton says it is invaluable and used frequently as it is lightweight and easier on the floating structure of the farm.

Toyota's 8-Series forklift has a number of safety features that are of vital importance in aquaculture. The Toyota system of active stability, for instance, monitors key forklift operations, detecting and counteracting instability to help reduce the risk of tip-overs.

More information on Toyota forklift trucks can be acquired from Toyota Materials Handling.

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