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Benchmark Animal Health and Cermaq to develop Tenacibaculum vaccines for salmon

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Benchmark Animal Health and Cermaq Group AS received NOK 4.2 million (US$479,000) in funding from the Research Council of Norway, to support a collaborative research project to develop a vaccine against salmon diseases caused by Tenacibaculum bacteria.

The funding from the Research Council of Norway enables Benchmark and Cermaq to undertake important research evaluating and optimizing novel vaccines against Tenacibaculum bacteria. The partnership couples the biotechnology and fish health innovation expertise of Benchmark with Cermaq’s extensive research on Tenacibaculum bacteria, as well as experience as a leader in aquaculture and farming. From Cermaq's side, the project will be headed by Ph.D. Sverre Småge and the researchers Cecilie Isachsen Lie and Helene Velle Mayer. At Benchmark, Sarah Barker and Sindre Rosenlund will lead the project alongside the researchers, Claire Stanley, Fiona Tulloch and Matthias Winkle.

Diseases resulting from Tenacibaculum bacteria, mouthrot and tenacibaculosis, represent a major concern to the aquaculture industry in terms of both fish health and welfare issues, as well as significant economic losses due to increased mortality, reduced quality at harvest, and the need for antibiotic treatments. A preventative vaccine for these diseases would provide a huge benefit for the aquaculture industry.

Sarah Barker, senior research scientist at Benchmark Animal Health, said that “the research team at Benchmark Animal Health are delighted to receive this recognition from the Research Council of Norway. We are looking forward to working on this important project in collaboration with our partner Cermaq Group AS, supporting our mission to achieve the highest standards of fish welfare and support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry.”

Olai Einen, global head of feed and fish health research at Cermaq, said that “preventive fish health is always the best option, and Cermaq invests much in preventive fish health in our dedicated fish health research team and through implementation in our operations. This joint project with Benchmark Animal Health is a great opportunity to succeed in developing an effective vaccine against the Tenacibaculum bacteria, and hence important for salmon farming.”

The Research Council of Norway is a Norwegian government agency that funds research and innovation projects. The Benchmark and Cermaq vaccine research is one of 11 projects within aquaculture, fisheries and green shipping to receive funding in 2021, totaling NOK 68 million over three years. These projects represent opportunities for green transformation, sustainable production of seafood and also digitalization and streamlining of the maritime industries.

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