Rudi Ripman Seim has been given a wider role at Benchmark Genetics, includes ensuring that production fulfils all requirements to allow Benchmark Genetics Norway AS to resume exports of ova to Scotland and other markets. Photo: Benchmark.

New role for Benchmark Genetics fish health chief

Salmon ova producer Benchmark Genetics has promoted its head of fish health, Rudi Ripman Seim, to the newly created position of head of production Norway and global fish health.

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Seim will be responsible for the relations with the partners Benchmark has within the areas of broodstock and egg production, joint operations of R&D concessions and research projects.

The 39-year-old will also ensure that the company has sufficient production capacity for biosecure broodstock and eggs to supply its customers all year round. This includes ensuring that production fulfils all requirements to allow Benchmark Genetics Norway AS to resume exports of ova.

Export ban

In line with other ova producers in Norway, Benchmark has been banned from exporting ova following a visit to the country by the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority (ESA) in April 2019. The ESA mission identified what it regarded as deficiencies in guaranteeing that farms were free of infectious salmon anaemia (ISA), an issue that has yet to be fully resolved.

Seim will continue to have the overall responsibility for fish health and welfare in Benchmark Genetics for salmon operations in Norway, Chile, Iceland, tilapia in USA and shrimp in the Americas and Asia. To support him in this role, Benchmark Genetics will recruit a new fish health manager who will be responsible for the operational tasks for the company’s salmon units in Norway and internationally.

Jan-Emil Johannessen: Breeding "is a complicated puzzle".

Land-based broodstock

Jan-Emil Johannessen, head of Benchmark Genetics, said: “Production of broodstock has historically taken place in the sea with a land transfer of selected broodstock some months before egg production.

“The establishment of land-based broodstock production in Norway has proven to be the best strategy in terms of biosecurity and securing supplies of eggs to our customers. In this site, we hold our broodstock on land either the entire or most of their lives. We are convinced that this is the right development for genetics producers going forward.

“As a breeding company, we still need to farm broodfish groups in the sea, for documentation, risk mitigation and as a supplement production for the Norwegian market. It is a complicated puzzle where many considerations have to be taken into account. I am very pleased that Rudi Ripman Seim has accepted to take on the responsibility for the coordination and execution.”

Detailed planning

Seim reports to Johannessen. Jonas Jonasson remains director of production globally and is responsible for broodstock and egg production in Norway, Iceland and Chile.

“The eggs that we are supplying are the final product from a long process that demands detailed planning, a high degree of control and close integration between fish health, production, genetics and sales,” said Seim.

“This is challenging and rewarding, and I am looking forward to taking on this new position.”