Proximar signs salmon egg agreement with Benchmark, former AquaMaof head of aquaculture production to join as technical support

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Benchmark’s global technical manager for RAS Dr Andrew Preston, who worked previously with AquaMaof’s operations in Poland, allocated to join Proximar’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

Grieg-backed Proximar has announced the signing of a framework agreement with Benchmark as a supplier of salmon eggs to the company’s production in Japan.

Future expansion
This confirms progress towards the targeted production capacity of 5,300 tonnes-a-year, supplying the first fish from its land-based production facility to the Japanese market in 2024. The framework agreement secures Proximar the required volumes for stage 1 and covers future expansion.

The agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic renewal.

The land-based salmon farming facility will be the foot of the iconic Mount Fuji, 70 miles west of the capital Tokyo. From 2024, the plan is to expand by another 21,000 tonnes.

“Proximar is targeting the Japanese market, where quality is of absolute essence. With the increasing number of land-based initiatives, securing quality eggs is a key concern. Our agreement with Benchmark is securing us high quality eggs and stable deliveries all-year round for our production in Japan,” said CEO Proximar Joachim Nielsen in a stock exchange announcement.

Technical support
As part of the agreement, Benchmark will also provide relevant technical support by allocating a designated member to Proximar’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC).

“We are therefore very pleased to announce the member from Benchmark to join our TAC, Dr. Andrew Preston, Global Technical Manager for RAS at Benchmark,” said Nielsen.

Dr Andrew Preston, Global Technical Manager for RAS. PHOTO: LinkedIn

Dr Preston has deep insight and very relevant experience after working more than three years for AquaMaof, where he held the position as head of aquaculture production and worked closely with the operations in Poland, farming Atlantic salmon.

Prior to joining AquaMaof, he worked at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture.

“We are very satisfied that we have been able to secure this long-term agreement and strategic collaboration with Proximar Seafood,” said Benchmark Genetics commercial director Geir Olav Melingen.

“Benchmark holds a unique position in the global land-based market, with 30 years’ experience from the land-based production in Iceland. The last year we have also strengthened the technical support towards this growing segment, which was an important part of the agreement,” he added.

For more than four years, AquaMaof’s salmon center in Poland has been producing Atlantic salmon and harvesting market-size fish for the last two years. The growth rates achieved are in line with Proximar’s production plan of around 22 months from egg to market size. The production is operating at commercial conditions when it comes to densities etc, and with mortality levels below five-per-cent for the post-smolt grow-out period.

AquaMaof has also been testing the performance of all-female and triploid eggs from Benchmark in its facility in Poland.

AquaMaof R&D and Training Center in Poland. Photo: AquaMaof

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved at the AquaMaof salmon center in Poland in the last four years,” said AquaMaof CEO David Hazut.

“It has proven the capability of our technology to consistently produce smolts and harvest-size Atlantic salmon on land, under commercial conditions. We have been using this facility as a testbed for continuous optimisation of the production parameters of our technology. However, the basic process design has remained unchanged over the years. Using simple and low complexity solutions reduces the risks of failure in operations. We are also pleased to see the technology working very well with the eggs from Benchmark,” he added.