Customer Profile - Mt Cook Alpine Salmon
Gough TWL is playing its part in health and safety on the world's highest salmon farm - Mt Cook Alpine Salmon located in the iconic Mackenzie Country.
Gough TWL’s Timaru branch was selected by Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon to provide winches for lifting nets and gates on its rafts located in the Tekapo canal.
Salmon farming in the canals is a world first, starting in the Ohau canal in 1992. The original rafts used rope and pulleys for lifting.
“On those first rafts, some of the ropes were simply direct lift and the job was extremely physical and difficult” according to Rick Ramsay, one of the original workers on the 1992 rafts and now in charge of raft construction for the massive expansion being undertaken by the company.
“Wet ropes, icy or snowy decks in winter and the lifting position was a potential for injury, particularly back injury, so in the mid-1990’s when we shifted to the Tekapo canal site, I introduced winches.”
The early winches proved effective, but the standard was not great and handles bent, ratchets stopped working and generally, their longevity was limited.
“We looked around and found the range stocked by TWL, then worked with them to adapt the winches to suit our mounting on handrail posts”.
Each raft contains 30 New Zealand manufactured winches ranging from 1:1 to 5:1 ratio.
“We needed straight handles, not offset ones, as we wanted to create as little obstruction to our walkways as possible. Because the winches are located on both sides of the raft, we also required adaptable mounting”.
Rick said the Gough TWL supplied winches were very robust , well priced and suited for the job.
“The staff love them- maybe one day we will try out a battery drill instead of the handle-we are always looking to improve things where we can.”
MCAS last year completed a major expansion to 10 rafts on the Tekapo canal and is on the third unit of four to be placed in the Ohau canal with plans for a further six.
The company produces high end Chinook salmon which commands a premium on world export markets. Eco-sustainably farmed, Salmon are raised in near perfect growing conditions, with plenty of space, clean fast flowing water and as little human intervention as possible.
Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon pioneered salmon farming in canals. In 1992, with the encouragement of the canal owners, hydro electric generation company ECNZ (now Meridian Energy) and the founding company Southern Sockeye Salmon Ltd launched a trial salmon farm raft in the Ohau Canal. This raft was stocked with King and Sockeye salmon, the first such system in the world. While much information existed for salmon farming, there was no advice on how to operate a raft capable of holding 70,000 fish, and the flow and hydraulic effects on rafts and the fish was unknown.
The first years of operation were trial and error. Development of the structures, equipment and farming methods evolved requiring on-site and sometimes urgent problem solving. In 1995 the company started a further trial on the neighbouring Tekapo Canal, which has a maximum flow of 130 cumecs, compared with the Ohau Canal maximum of 220 cumecs. This became the highest salmon farm site in the world at 677 metres above sea level. As experience grew, redevelopment and improvement could be carried out and new trials undertaken with a better understanding of the farming environment. New ownership and renaming to Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Ltd in 2009 signified a new era for the farm. Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon is now regarded as one of the most premium salmon producers in the world.
Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is owned by a passionate group of private individuals with all management being shareholders who share a common love of the Mt Cook region.
To find out more about Alpine Salmon visit - www.mtcooksalmon.com