Improved conditions - doubled growth

We expect to produce eggs of excellent condition based on the good brood fish we now are holding at the plant.

Hafnir, Iceland: Good smolt, improved equipment, selective breeding over generations and skilled management has led to doubled fish growth at StofnFiskurs brood stock site Kalmanstjørn. In addition, the fish quality, health condition and animal welfare has improved.

-We did not expect this major effect by the changes we have implemented, and I must say I am impressed myself, says David Hardarson, Station Manager at Kalmanstjørn. Hardarson holds a degree in Aquaculture from Holar University and has been with StofnFiskur since 2010. 

Land based production of ova
Kalmanstjørn is a land based site, as the rest of the production units StofnFiskur operates. It holds fish from smolt size to mature brood fish, and it has its own facility for stripping and incubation of eggs. For 2017, Hardarsson expect to produce 66 million eggs. And for 2018, the number might be even higher:

-With the ownership of Benchmark Holdings, we have been able to make investments in equipment that enables us to improve the farming conditions, he explains, pointing out new aerators as the most significant factor. The October 15 stocking is the first generation to be produced under new conditions. This fish is now 4 kg on average.

There is an increased interest across the world for producing salmon up to 4-6 kg with the entire life cycle on land. The results at Kalmanstjørn confirm that it is possible to reach market size in a production cycle from smolt to harvest in less than one year. 

Stable conditions, increased production
They used to have one single system for oxygenating the entire site, but with new investments, Hardarsson and his colleges now has one set up per tank. Regulating temperature has been a challenge at Kalmanstjørn, but with the new system it has been possible to keep both stable and high temperatures throughout the production cycle. On average, the temperature has been 2,5 Co higher than in the previous productions.

As for the rest of the StofnFiskur sites, Kalmanstjørn uses water from deep drilled bore holes. The water is naturally filtered through lava ground, securing a pathogen free environment for the fish.


David Hardason is site manager at Kalmanstjørn:

-For the 2015 production grading was done after 11 months, for earlier productions this selection has been performed after 16-18 months.

Skilled staff
According to Hardarson, good smolt quality and an experienced team plays an important part of the improved production result at the site. Knowledge about the plant in combination with positive experience from previous improvements has led to opportunities for new investments.   The team at Kalmanstjørn, consisting of six operators in addition to the site manager and his assistant, has been working together for several years. One of the most important task conducted by the staff is new protocols for grading of the fish. 

-We have started grading the broodstock in separate tanks for males and females already at smolt size, says Hardarson. Doing so, more females can be included in the stock, giving more fish to choose from when selecting brood fish.

- Growth is an important trait for the StofnFiskur strain. From generation to generation we see the result of selecting the best performing fish for breeding. Smolt of excellent quality and condition is crucial for obtaining the results we have lately experienced at the plant, he claims.

-We have also been testing a new broodstock diet for the fish at Kalmanstjørn over the last months, and we are now using a feed optimized for brood fish. I am very much looking forward to seeing what impact this will have on the broodfish and egg quality over the next years.

Earlier grading
The rapid growth has not only given larger broodfish, it has also shortened the production period at Kalmanstjørn with several months. Where the fish for breeding used to be selected after 16-18 months, the grading of the October 15 generation was done after only 11 months.

-We have obtained healthier and more robust fish, Hardarson says proudly. Next year, the fish will be in StofnFiskur’s program for timed maturation, and later transferred to fresh water, where it will naturally stop feeding and prepare for spawning. At StofnFiskur, there are great expectations for the eggs to be produced. This brood fish is the 8th generation in our breeding program, and I am sure our geneticists are doing a great job selecting our breeding material. We believe that the genetics also plays a large part in the major improvements we are seeing.

The major improvements they have obtained makes Hardason keen for more: 

-We expect to produce eggs of excellent condition based on the good brood fish we now are holding at the plant. Size, energy status and other quality factors should benefit, according to Hardarson. 

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