The Grieg Seafood offshoot has agreed the deal with Benchmark-owned StofnFiskur HF in Iceland. During the period, more than 22 million eggs will be delivered to Grieg NL’s new Marystown plant.
To comply with the strict environmental requirements from the Canadian authorities, the selected eggs will produce sterile salmon (triploid) to avoid reproduction and settling if escapes were to occur. These eggs are genetically selected for growth, high quality characteristics, and improved resistance to a variety of diseases. The production at StofnFiskur takes place in land-based units with the highest standards of biosecurity.
“We have been in close dialogue with Grieg NL since 2016 to assist them in obtaining licences for production in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Grieg NL is now in the final stage of implementing environmental impact studies - EIS - and we are confident that Grieg NL will receive the licences,” says Rudi Ripman Seim, fish health manager at Benchmark Genetics.
Assuming that the project is completed, Benchmark Genetics will be the only foreign company to supply Atlantic salmon genetics to Canada.
"We are very proud that yet another major international salmon producer has chosen one of our breeding companies as a supplier for genetic material," said Jan-Emil Johannessen, head of the Benchmark Genetics division. "Sustainable growth goes hand in hand with conservation of the environment, and we are very pleased to be able to deliver solutions that meet market demands."
Grieg NL’s proposal includes a CA$75 million hatchery and nursery facility, to produce seven million smolts annually and stock 11 sea cage sites in Placentia Bay, ultimately producing 33,000 tonnes of salmon a year. This would more than double the province’s annual production of farmed salmon.
In July 2016 Perry Trimper, who was then NL’s minister of environment and climate change, released the project from further environmental assessment. North American NGO the Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) appealed Trimper’s decision and Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador judge, Justice Gillian Butler, overruled the politician. Her ruling meant Grieg NL had to prepare an EIS.
Newfoundland and Labrador province has committed to funding CA$45m of the salmon farming project, which has an estimated total cost of CA$250m (£152m).
Grieg Group owns Grieg Seafood, which farms salmon in Shetland and Skye, as well as in Norway and in British Columbia, western Canada.