Benchmark begins operation at new land-based facility in Norway

Hatchery International staff
September 21, 2018
By Hatchery International staff
Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye
Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye Source: Benchmark
Benchmark has commenced production of salmon eggs at its new land-based breeding facility in Salten, Norway, the UK-based salmon egg supplier has announced.

The Salten facility has been built to the highest standards of technology and biosecurity, and will be the most modern salmon egg production site in the world, Benchmark said in a statement. The increased capacity will allow Benchmark to supply the global market with biosecure eggs year-round, a significant advantage for producers only possible with land-based production.

"The company is committed to delivering technologically advanced products and solutions to drive the sustainable development of aquaculture. Developing environmentally friendly, biosecure, land-based production is a critical element in reducing the impact of disease in the salmon industry, contributing to long term sustainable growth," the Benchmark statement said.

The announcement is the culmination of a two-year, £40m (approximately US$52 million) investment by the company. The new facility is expected to increase Benchmark's in-house capacity by 75 per cent. Benchmark currently outsources part of its production to meet growing demand for its products. The new facility will enable Benchmark to bring production in-house enhancing profitability, it said.

"The opening of our new facility in Salten on time is a very important milestone for Benchmark which will allow us to capitalize on our leading market position in salmon genetics and the favourable long term market trends in the industry. We expect it to contribute additional revenues at higher margins going forward," said Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye.

Sales of fertilized eggs from the Salten facility will begin in November 2018 and additional fish will be brought into the facility to ramp up volumes throughout 2019. As anticipated, initial sales will benefit the 2019 financial year, with full production capacity expected by 2021. Salten is located in northern Norway, where the salmon production base is growing fast, according to the company. The new facility will allow Benchmark to serve this growing region as well as the rest of Norway and international markets.

The fundamentals for salmon farming continue to be very attractive. Global demand for salmon has grown by six to seven per cent annually in recent years and is expected to increase substantially over the next decade from countries including America and China, where consumption per capita is low but growing as a result of increasing health awareness and a growing middle class. This growth and a continuous effort to increase efficiency in the industry will continue to drive demand for robust genetics.

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