Benchmark Genetics signs genetics agreement with World Heritage Salmon

The agreement includes ova supplies for a new land-based facility in the discontinued olivine mines in Sunnylvsfjorden, Norway and a mutual exchange of expertise.

Benchmark Genetics signs genetics agreement with World Heritage Salmon
The land-based project in Synnylvsfjorden, Norway
February 25, 2021

World Heritage Salmon (WHS), which will produce Atlantic salmon in the discontinued olivine mines in Sunnylvsfjorden, Norway, entered into a five-year contractual agreement with Benchmark Genetics for supplies of genetics adapted to land-based farming. The collaboration also includes a mutual exchange of expertise.

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

Roger Hofseth, chairman of WHS, said that the company has chosen to secure genetics at an early stage because they believe 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,” Hofseth said.

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

“When we are in operation, our need for ova will be between 20 and 25 million a year. 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,” the chairman pointed out.

Geir Olav Melingen, commercial director at Benchmark Genetics, 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,” Melingen explained.