A more sustainable and biosecure broodstock production and lower cost of operation through a partnership.
About the company
- Company: Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett AS
- Client role: Broodstock license partner and customer
- Industry: Salmon farming
- The time we’ve been working together: License partner since October 2018 and customer though many years. The first salmon was set in the sea at the location in the summer of 2019.
Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett is a family-owned salmon farming company, founded in 1976 and has operated for three generations. The location is Kvarøy, an island at the coast of Helgeland, in the north of Norway. They have five own licenses and is operating one broodstock license owned by Benchmark. Kvarøy is probably the most certified salmon farmer globally, being approved by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Global GAP, Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Fair Trade USA.
Kvarøy is farming Atlantic salmon based on a philosophy of offering salmon of very high quality without compromising either the environment or the welfare of the fish. Kvarøy has ambitions of leading the way in sustainable salmon farming and being a responsible employer. Their local community consists of only 70 inhabitants, of which the company employs 26.
The collaboration with Benchmark Genetics
The collaboration is based on a mutual interest in farming broodstock in the most sustainable way in the sea.
As a relatively small player, Kvarøy still had room for improving their economy of scale of their operations. They were also keen to take on more challenges, as broodstock requires unique know-how and extensive health surveillance. On the other hand, Benchmark Genetics had just been granted a broodstock license of 780 t MTB by the Norwegian Directory of Fisheries and needed a highly skilled partner with good locations to operate the license. The fact that Kvarøy has a philosophy on sustainable farming made the collaboration even more attractive to Benchmark with its vision of driving sustainability in aquaculture.
The “Kvarøy way” is to produce salmon more sustainably. They have developed a special diet with a high level of marine ingredients from cut-offs from the fish industry and certified soy from Europe. No artificial colour is used, and the feed contains double levels of Omega-3 compared to regular feed. The marine oils are derived from algae, and the levels of PCB and dioxin are far below the recommended levels for consumption ensured through a cleaning process of the fish meal. They believe that a happy salmon is a fish grown at lower densities, and they are farming at a maximum of 20 kg/m3 at all of their locations. For the sake of the environment, no copper is used as antifoulants of the nets. The company was also the first to use blockchain for transparency to build trust with the food buyers and consumers wanting insights to the origin of their food.
Benchmark’s broodstock is farmed based on the same standards. In addition, more sampling and health checks are conducted to ensure the highest standards of biosecurity for the fish that is going to bring on the next generation of salmon.
Kvarøy has all over reduced their production cost. Benchmark Genetics now has available high-quality breeding candidates produced in highly sustainable conditions in a short distance from the land-based broodstock centre in Salten. The broodfish stays the first year in the sea at Kvarøy before it is transported by well-boat to SalmoBreed Salten, a state-of-the-art land-based facility. In Salten, the fish will grow for another year before it reaches maturation and becomes parents to the next generation of salmon. Biosecurity is of key importance when farming on land and requires that any fish entering the site must be healthy and documented free of any diseases. The way Kvarøy is operating the broodstock license gives Benchmark confidence that the biosecurity standards are well in place.
I believe that genetics contributes to solving some of our industry’s greatest challenges such as sea lice infestation and mortality caused by diseases. As a starting point in the value chain, genetics helps to improve the fish welfare and the performance in each of the steps that follow.Alf-Gøran Knutsen, General Manager of Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett AS