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Stofnfiskur targets Chinese land-based salmon industry

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Iceland’s selective breeder and producer of salmonid eggs, Stofnfiskur, will support the land-based salmon aquaculture boom in China and Asia thanks in part to the export agreement between the two countries.

Over the next decade, China is expected to produce 130,000 metric tons of land-based salmon based on the current slew of projects, ranking third in volume following Norway and the United States.

“China and Asia today are a very small market compared to the total sales we have. I expect there will be a shift within the next five to ten years as we reach a point of no return, where several land-based salmon projects will fall into place,” said Geir Olav Melingen, commercial director of Benchmark Genetics, the parent company of Stofnfiskur.

Currently, the land-based salmon farming sector only produces modest volumes, but a handful of projects are scaling up. “When the world is getting back to the new normal, the whole situation will boost some of these land-based projects and then, for sure, Asia will grow to become a significant producer,” Melingen said. “For that, we see that we will play a key role in helping them by providing eggs and year-round supply.”

“At the moment, salmonid eggs going into land-based production are quite similar to traditional salmon farming, but StofnFiskur has plans to start up a separate line especially for land-based production,” said Jonas Jonasson, CEO of StofnFiskur and production director for Benchmark Genetics. In general, all-female eggs have performed best based on various experiments because they don’t mature as much as the mixed-sex eggs.

Five years ago, Iceland became the first European and only North Atlantic country to reach a trade deal with China. The free trade agreement was a breakthrough for StofnFiskur, which has been supplying the market regularly since 2013. “Most of the salmon eggs StofnFiskur exports to China go directly to the land-based salmon sector, however, the company also supplies offshore aquaculture projects in the Yellow Sea,” said Benchmark Genetics' global sales manager, Robert Runarsson.

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