MK Salackrasti Fishing Club
Dealer: Baltic Agro Machinery
Customer: MK Salackrasti Fishing Club
Operator: Edijs Neretnieks
Jobsite area: Salaca river, Northern Latvia
The beautiful Salaca river in Northern Latvia is one of the country’s most important locations for the breeding and fishing of salmon. The Salaca flows for over 90km from Lake Burtnieks in Vidzeme to the Gulf of Riga and flows through three towns, Mazsalaca, Staicele and Salacgrīva. The river has suffered for many years from issues with the rapid infestation of weeds and rushes stopping the salmon from coming up stream and spawning. The locals believe that climate change and an increasing of winter temperatures stopping the river from freezing is the main cause of the increase in density of weeds on the river.
30km of the river is managed by the MK Salackrasti Fishing Club and as part of their stewardship of the river, they are obliged to maintain it to the highest of standards. Atis Apelis is the Chairman of the club; “We take our responsibilities for the management of the river extremely seriously. If the fish are unable to spawn, we wouldn’t be able to fish here and that would ultimately spell the end of the club which has been in existence for over 100 years.”
Over previous seasons, club members have undertaken the maintenance of the gravel river beds and the weed clearance by hand and whilst this has proved successful, only certain areas can be done in a season. This leaves the club in a constant battle to keep the river in the highest of order. Looking to increase the quantity of work they can undertake in a season; the club explored the possibility of mechanising the operations and approached the local Kobelco dealer Baltic Agro Machinery for a potential solution.
With such an environmentally important stretch of river, the club were able to gain funding from the EU to help regenerate their 30km of the Salaca and safeguard salmon fishing for the future. As part of the funding application, the EU demanded that any machinery used on the work should meet the highest environmental emissions standards. The fishing club has worked very close with dealer Baltic Agro to source a Kobelco SK130 which met the strict guidelines on economical emissions directive from the EU. This combined with Baltic Agro being able to also offer the full package to club including a bespoke made PMV dredging attachment which was designed and manufactured especially for this job.
Gunnars Petersons, Sales Manager at Baltic Agro commented; “When Atis approached us to see if we could help, we instantly knew that a Kobelco SK130-11 would be an ideal size of machine for the operation. With the work that need doing, we also suggested that the machine be fitted with a tiltrotator to allow the operator to manipulate the attachments and allow them to undertake the projects quicker and easier than with a standard machine.”
The SK130-11 is powered by a fuel-efficient Isuzu engine which develops 78.5Kw and delivers its peak torque of 375Nm at just 1800rpm. The Stage V engine uses an SCR system to reduce harmful emissions and has also been filled with Bio-oils throughout the engine and hydraulic systems. The excavator has been supplied with standard working equipment of 4.6m boom and a 2.8m stick with the only change to a standard specification being the addition of 800mm wide track pads.
The PMV attachment supplied by Baltic Agro is a specialist rake attachment designed to remove the weeds and uses a nozzle mounted to the side of the rake to provide a high-pressure jet of water designed to loosen the riverbed sufficiently to allow the rake to remove every part of the weed.
Edijs Neretnieks has been entrusted with the new excavator and has been very happy with the quality and reliability of the machine so far; “It’s a very comfortable and stable machine to operate. The cab is perfectly designed for the operator with the controls being easy to use.”
Whilst the primary objective for Edijs is the maintenance of the riverbed, the Kobelco also undertakes a variety of operations both in the river and along its banks. “To keep the riverbed to a suitable standard for the salmon to spawn, we have to ensure the gravel on the bed is clean and of a particular size.” Edijs explains: “When this work is complete, we turn our attention to the removal of weeds and rushes and into the adjacent woodlands where we thin out trees and bushes. We must be very careful when removing the weeds and must remove both the stems and the roots. This is where the attachment is very useful.”
Baltic Agro Machinery supply a wide range of machinery including the Kobelco range and report that the Japanese brand are quickly establishing themselves in the region as a leading brand thanks to their impressive build quality, reliability and fuel economy. Working from six locations throughout Latvia, the company employs over 150 staff across the business.
“We believe first class back up Is the key to forming successful relationships with our customers.” Gunnar comments: “We have an established and well-trained support network throughout the country to ensure that any issues are dealt with quickly. We are proud to participate in such an important and interesting “green” project to improve the natural environment of our country.”
The small membership of the club supplied 35% of the total package cost through donations, membership fees and fundraising events whilst the remaining 65% was funded through the EU. The club are extremely pleased with their ability to undertake the work mechanically and ensure the future of salmon fishing in the region.