AquaChile and Benchmark to launch salmon genetics and genomics JV

Peter Simpson

AquaChile, the world’s 6th largest salmon producer, has signed a breeding and genetic joint venture with leading food innovation company, Benchmark.

The new company – Benchmark Genetics Chile – will combine leading-edge technology in salmon genetics and genomics to drive progress in the future on many of the key traits to the Chilean Industry, including resistance to diseases such as SRS and sea lice.

It will produce eggs in the Chaicas high-quality biosecure land-based facilities in Chile, with support from Benchmark Genetic’s land-based breeding operations in Iceland and genetic technology from Benchmark’s Akvaforsk Genetics in Norway.

Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye, said: “We are very pleased to announce today’s Chilean joint venture; combining AquaChile’s existing high-quality land-based production and locally adapted genetics business with Benchmark’s leadership in salmon genetics and long-standing research in the field. Together, we believe we will create a world-class operation in Chile.”

Agustín Ugalde, CEO of AquaChile commented: “This partnership will allow AquaChile to continue improving the genetics of our fish and, with that, the productivity and overall performance in our core salmon and trout farming business.

“And this transaction also validates our efforts to date in building local capacity for the production of salmon eggs to the highest quality and biosecurity standards.”

Benchmark Genetics Chile is expected to supply AquaChile’s entire Atlantic salmon egg requirement. It will also market Coho salmon and rainbow trout eggs adapted for Chilean conditions.