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Benchmark signs 7-year deal with on-land salmon farmer

Salmon Evolution will be supplied with ova from Benchmark's state-of-the-art SalmonBreed Salten broodstock facility. Photo: Benchmark.
Salmon Evolution will be supplied with ova from Benchmark's state-of-the-art SalmonBreed Salten broodstock facility. Photo: Benchmark.

Salmon ova producer Benchmark Genetics Norway has signed a seven-year deal to supply Salmon Evolution, which is building a 36,000-tonnes-per-year on-land farm at Indre Harøy in western Norway.

The contract also includes collaboration on research and development projects for breeding and land-based aquaculture, Salmon Evolution said in a press release.

“Our collaboration with Benchmark Genetics will ensure a stable year-round supply of high-quality genetic products, and thereby a steady and predictable production of salmon to the highest quality standards,” said Salmon Evolution chief executive Håkon Berg.

Geir Olav Melingen: Year-round deliveries.
Geir Olav Melingen: Year-round deliveries.

Strong position

Geir Olav Melingen, commercial director at Benchmark Genetics, which is owned by UK-headquartered Benchmark Holdings, said: “We’re very pleased to have signed this agreement, which confirms our strong position as a genetics supplier to land-based fish farming worldwide.

“Last year, we opened SalmoBreed Salten, the most modern and advanced land-based broodstock facility in the world. Being designed to keep the nucleus of our broodstock on land throughout its life cycle, it provides the highest standard of biosecurity in the industry.

“Our production model gives full control of the breeding season and puts us in a position to deliver ova according to customer orders every week of the year.”

Håkon Berg:
Håkon Berg: "A first-class salmon".

Optimised for on-land farms

Salmon Evolution said that through its collaboration with Benchmark Genetics, it will develop salmon genetics optimised for land-based farming with the emphasis on growth, robustness and properties such as fat content, colour and fillet quality.

“As land-based farming doesn’t need to take into account the challenges faced in the sea, our focus will be on achieving the best possible fish health, optimal water quality and implementing strict standards of quality feed with a sustainable origin. Combined, we believe they will give our customers a first-class salmon,” said Berg.

Hybrid system

Salmon Evolution will use a hybrid system based on 65% recycling and 35% supply of filtered and temperate seawater for its farm. The first phase of the project will have a capacity of 9,000 tonnes per annum, with smolts possibly being introduced before the end of next year.

Its contract to buy ova follows last week’s announcement by Benchmark Genetics that it had signed a five-year agreement to supply ova to AquaCon, the Norwegian company planning to produce around 50,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually in recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities in Maryland in the eastern United States.

Benchmark’s Icelandic company, StofnFiskur, will supply approximately 40 million ova to AquaCon over the contract period.