Icelandic breeding program targets global salmon RAS expansion

StofnFiskur is leading the way with supplying all-female eggs to land-based salmon farms.

Icelandic breeding program targets global salmon RAS expansion
February 20, 2020

Stofnfiskur, founded in March 1991 and part of the Breeding & Genetics Division of Benchmark Holdings plc, was initially focused on breeding and selection for ocean ranching of Atlantic salmon. The company´s production of high-quality Atlantic salmon eggs, fry, parr and smolt is built on a unique selective breeding program. The products are developed by world-class specialists in genetics, in a disease-free environment.

At the salmon breeding unit in Iceland, StofnFiskur began to work with the selective breeding program to supply year-round eggs to Chile with a high biosecurity status. The learning process over seven generations of fish has given the company a first-mover advantage in the growth of the land-based salmon grow-out industry. The idea of all-season delivery came from poultry, where this system was already well developed and proved that it could be done for Atlantic salmon.

Land-based farming requires breeding all-female eggs that are sex-reversed in a complicated process known as neomales. The all-female eggs significantly reduce early maturation that can affect growth. StofnFiskur has, in addition, worked on the triploidization of all-female eggs, a process that eliminates early maturation in full-cycle freshwater farming.

“We can easily expand our production capacities especially in Iceland where we have cryopreservation,” said StofnFiskur CEO, Jonas Jonasson. “We can choose specific broodstock that is ideal for land-based farming, we have big flexibility in our systems to have eggs at the right time, but also expand.”