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Benchmark extends ova supply deal with on-land salmon farmer

Geir Olav Melingen, front left, commercial director from Benchmark Genetics, and Haraldur Snorrason, head of the smolt operation at Landeldi, shake hands after signing a three-year extension of an ova supply contract. Also pictured are Landeldi chief financial officer Páll Ágústsson, back left, and Róbert Rúnarsson, global sales manager of Benchmark Genetics.
Geir Olav Melingen, front left, commercial director from Benchmark Genetics, and Haraldur Snorrason, head of the smolt operation at Landeldi, shake hands after signing a three-year extension of an ova supply contract. Also pictured are Landeldi chief financial officer Páll Ágústsson, back left, and Róbert Rúnarsson, global sales manager of Benchmark Genetics.

Salmon ova supplier Benchmark Genetics Iceland has signed a three-year extension to a deal to provide Icelandic on-land fish farmer Landeldi with eyed eggs.

Benchmark has supplied more than 2 million ova to Landeldi since December 2020 and will continue to fulfil Landeldi’s needs for its ongoing expansion.

“Our Öxnalækur hatchery has recorded very low mortality for about one and a half years. We attribute that mainly to a consistent quality product from Benchmark, our flow-through system and the quality of the pristine Icelandic groundwater,” said Haraldur Snorrason, head of the smolt operation at Landeldi.

Landeldi will use a hybrid flow-through and RAS system.
Landeldi will use a hybrid flow-through and RAS system.

A promising company

Róbert Rúnarsson, global sales manager at Benchmark Genetics, said: “We are located only one hour from Landeldi and cooperate closely with them. Landeldi is a promising company and an important client for Benchmark in Iceland.”

Landeldi plans to use a combination of one-third filtered sea water and two-thirds recirculated water in a hybrid system making use of underground sea water and fresh water sources, and Iceland’s affordable electricity supply.

20,000 tonnes by 2027

Its plant, to be called the Deep Atlantic Station, is being built in southern Iceland on the so-called Laxabraut (Salmon Row).

Landeldi plans to eventually produce 33,500 tonnes of salmon annually at the site and completed financing for the first 2,500 tonnes of capacity last year.

The company is on a steady course towards building up its first phase of 6,500 tonnes of annual production and is targeting at least 20,000 tonnes by 2027 on the 300-acre site.

Halldór Ólafur Halldórsson: Facility can be scaled in a modular way. Photo: Landeldi.
Halldór Ólafur Halldórsson: Facility can be scaled in a modular way. Photo: Landeldi.

Scalability is key

“We are confident and optimistic about the future. Scalability is the key for Landeldi, as we have designed the facility in a modular way,” chairman Halldór Ólafur Halldórsson told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, earlier this year.

Landeldi was established in 2017, and in August 2020, the company received the necessary environmental approval from the Icelandic authorities and all other licences were approved in 2021 for a production of 3,450 maximum allowed biomass.

The company also has two pending licences that Halldórsson says are expected to be accepted in 2023.

Same idea, different scale

The idea for large-scale land-based salmon farming in Ölfus came from the brothers Haraldur Snorrason and Ingólfur Snorrason, said Halldórsson.

“The brothers worked with their father in the late eighties on a small land-based salmon farm, on the same site as Landeldi operates today, where they farmed salmon of up to 4 kg on land using underground seawater taken through boreholes. They did it then on a small scale, and we will do it now on a large scale,” said Halldórsson.

In 2020, Landeldi bought the Öxnalækur hatchery, where around one million smolts are currently swimming in the tanks. The company uses a freshwater flow-through system and environmentally certified feed. All water is locally sourced from wells on the company’s land, and Landeldi states that the temperature is perfect for smolts and is 100% geothermally heated.