Netting solutions for the aquaculture industry

EM5 2020 NetsExperience with Czech pond farming enables net manufacture to expand abroad 

This artcle was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 5/ 2020.

A producer of nets has used the pond farming industry in the Czech Republic as a springboard to market his products to freshwater and marine fish farmers in several European countries. The Czech Republic is among the largest producers of freshwater farmed fish in the EU, most of it in earthen ponds. This should come as no surprise as there is a long tradition of pond farming in what is now the Czech Republic. According to researchers at the University of South Bohemia, in the 16th century the country had some 20,000 fishponds occupying about 180,000 hectares. Today, while the number of ponds has increased by a fifth, the area has Dobeš-Nets, a company based in the Czech Republic, produces nets for the aquaculture and fishing industries. shrunk to 52,000 ha, but production per hectare has soared from 70 kg to 450 kg. As a result, Czech production in 2018 was about 23,000 tonnes.

Nets - an indispensable part of fish farming

Pond production is typically not as technologically demanding as, for example, recirculation aquaculture systems, but pond farmers must also invest in equipment to feed, harvest, and transport, and grade and perform all the other tasks involved in rearing fish. Among the simplest yet most useful tools for any pond fish farmer are nets. These are used at every stage of the rearing process from hatchery to harvesting and are available in a huge variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. Among the Czech producers of nets is the company Dobeš that has been supplying the industry since 1993. A family-owned company founded by Petr Dobeš, the owner and managing director, it specialises in nets for the aquaculture industry including hanging and floating net cages for fish breeding and storage. These nets form the core of the production, as the company has many years of experience with the fish farming industry. However, it also produces nets for the fishing sector both marine and freshwater. In addition, the company’s nets are used for fisheries research purposes. Nets are deployed in diverse circumstances and the company offers another range of nets that are used against birds, in aviaries, and for sporting purposes. Common to all the products, irrespective of the purpose, is that they are made to the customer’s specification, says Petr Dobeš. This means that nets are designed and made for the specific purpose that the customer has intended resulting in a durable and environmentally optimal solution.

Solutions are customised to the needs of the individual buyer

The nets are typically made of nylon and polyethylene with polypropylene also used occasionally. All these materials are tough and light with each offering certain advantages and disadvantages. They can be knotted or knotless and have different mesh sizes. Among the characteristics to consider are resistance to abrasion and to ultraviolet radiation, weight, water absorption, strength, vulnerability to fouling, and price. With so many variables to consider, customers can discuss with the company how to precisely tailor the net to their requirements. While nets from these materials are not biodegradeable, more than 90% of the material used is recyclable, according to Mr Dobeš. About half the raw material comes from Europe and the other half from the rest of the world, but the final production and inspection takes place at the company’s facilities close to Prague. The company’s markets are both within the Czech Republic (about 45% of turnover) and abroad, mostly in other European countries. Customers are primarily the fish breeders themselves with a significant fraction also sold through wholesalers. Product marketing is through trade journals at home and in other countries, and equally importantly through trade fairs, where staff can meet directly with potential customers, display the products and discuss requirements and prices. Fish International in Bremen and DanFish in Aalborg are two events the company attends reflecting the importance of the German and Danish markets. Last year the company put up a new building which is currently being equipped with the latest net production technology for the benefit of existing and new customers. Our clients have always come first, says Mr Dobeš, and the new facility will enable us to serve them even better.

Petr Dobeš - Nets
Address: Jílové u Prahy 698
254 01 Jílové u Prahy
Czech Republic

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Owner: Petr Dobeš
Sales manager: Jan Turek
Production: Nets for aquaculture, fishing, stainless steel hand nets, spare parts; nets for bird protection, aviaries, and sporting purposes
Employees: 12 Markets: Domestic (45%), European
Main customers: Fish farmers, wholesalers