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Successful production of Atlantic salmon in Iceland and ova export to Chile

StofnFiskur is currently the only company allowed to export salmon eggs to Chile, and the decision ensures that the Chilean border remains open for imports of eggs from the company’s product units in Iceland.

Stofnfiskur, thanks to its animal health status, is the only foreign provider allowed to export Atlantic salmon eggs to Chile.

The company’s land-based farms are supplied with unpolluted seawater and freshwater from boreholes. This water, naturally filtered through porous lava, provides the best disease-free habitat for fish. Together with the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST), the company has developed and implemented effective biosecurity management measures focused on preventing and protecting our fish from infectious disease agents. As a result, the company is now a biosecure compartment.

The provisions for the implementation of compartmentalization established in the OIE Aquatic Animal Health Code [1] and Terrestrial Animal Health Code [2] are merely recommendations and they do not provide specific guidance on how to implement, evaluate or officially approve a compartment. Consequently, MAST formally established a strategy to conduct and support the compartmentalization process and drafted legislation. MAST published the Official Standard on the requirements for compartmentalization for disease management in March 2015 [3].

Once all the legal instruments were set up, Stofnfiskur applied for official approval of the first biosecure compartment. MAST performed site visits to all sub-units of the compartment and verified their documentation, and official certification was granted on 2 October 2015. Subsequently, Stofnfiskur submitted the relevant documentation to the Chilean National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA), with the aim of obtaining official recognition for the compartment in Chile. SERNAPESCA began collecting the necessary documentation in 2014 and recognised the first international compartment in Iceland on 1 March 2016.

The process described above clearly demonstrates the importance of collaboration between the private and public sectors. The alliance between Stofnfiskur and MAST is another example of a successful public–private partnership in aquaculture. In addition, this alliance has contributed to economic growth in Iceland.

In November 2017, Benchmark imported brood stock into Chile form Iceland as a starting point for establishing a local breeding programme in the 2nd largest salmon producing country in the world.

The brood stock is now being adapted to Chilean conditions by our team of geneticists in Chile and Europe, to suits the needs of our local customers.

Benchmark Genetics Chile are also offering technical genetics services to external breeding programmes in Chile for Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and coho.

“We are very pleased that Sernapesca is acknowledging the high standards we have established for our compartments in Iceland, and has once more approved our production units for import of Atlantic Salmon eggs to Chile”, said Dr Jónas Jónasson, chief executive of StofnFiskur HF.
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Biosecurity at StofnFiskur's land-based brood facility helped the firm retain permission to export to Chile.

Vogar, Iceland. © Eduardo Rodriguez

Matías del Campo, General Manager Benchmark Genetics Chile "In Benchmark Genetics Chile we are collaborating with our sister companies in Norway and Iceland to exchange competence and technology to make our genetic programme in Chile the best and most advanced, to the benefit of the Chilean farming industry."

Benchmark Genetics is in a unique position being able to offer supply ova every week of the year to all the major salmon markets of the world. StofnFiskur is also functioning as back-up security for supplies to the Norwegian market being able to offer ova from the StofnFiskur strain and CrossBreed using eggs from StofnFiskur fertilized by milt from the SalmoBreed Strain. This is an important advantage, Norway being the single largest salmon producer in the world.

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