World Heritage Salmon plans to produce 100,000 tonnes of salmon a year in a disused olivine mine in Norway. Illustration: WHS.

Ova contract signed for 100,000-tonne salmon farm in disused mine

World Heritage Salmon (WHS), which plans to produce Atlantic salmon in discontinued olivine mines in Sunnylvsfjorden, Norway, has entered into a five-year contractual agreement with Benchmark Genetics for salmon eggs adapted to land-based farming.

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The collaboration also includes a mutual exchange of expertise, Benchmark said in a press release.

WHS plans an annual production of up to 100,000 tonnes of salmon, which equals a yearly demand of 20 - 25 million ova through the year. The contract is initially for five years starting 2023, and with a further option for additional five years.

Roger Hofseth: Benchmark's land-based production "gives us the security we need for reducing the biological risks". Click on image to enlarge.

Knowledge exchange

The two partners have agreed to exchange experience and expertise related to land-based farming, including both the project phase and the smolt and grow-out facilities’ operational phase.

WHS chairman Roger Hofseth said the company had chosen to secure genetics at an early stage because it believed that this is one of the most important input factors for the success of land-based production in the future.

“Benchmark Genetics has extensive experience with land-based farming. We will use the time until the smolt and food fish facilities are up and running to share experiences and expertise to reduce risk and ensure optimal production,” said Hosfeth.

Year-round ova demand

The projected facility in Synnylvsfjorden will comprise 15 tunnels with tanks. Each of them will constitute independent biological zones. Hofseth said that biosecurity is one of the reasons for choosing Benchmark as a supplier.

“Their strategy with land-based broodstock and egg production and a comprehensive screening program gives us the security we need for reducing the biological risks for our production,” he explained.

“When we are in operation, our need for ova will be between 20 and 25 million a year. It goes without saying that we will request deliveries throughout the year, including the summer months. Benchmark’s ability to deliver off-season eggs has also been an important factor in choosing them as our partner.”

Geir Olav Melingen: "Competence exchange is essential."

‘An exciting solution.

Benchmark Genetics commercial director Geir Olav Melingen said: “We look forward to working with World Heritage Salmon in the years to come.

“They have chosen an exciting technological solution that differs from other land-based projects with whom we have agreements. Competence exchange is essential to create progress in product development and make improvements and adjustments in the production. Therefore, the exchange of experience is an element included in this contract.”

WHS is affiliated with Hofseth International AS, an international seafood group with headquarters in Ålesund, Norway.

Olivine is a magnesium iron silicate that was historically used for metal working processes, and as a gemstone, called peridot.