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Sterile fish for avoiding crossing with wild salmon stock

Our sister company, Island-based Stofnfiskur, delivers to the market special product, triploid salmon, that is important contribution towards a more sustainable aquaculture

Escapes is one of the greatest challenges that the aquaculture industry is working to prevent. One of the most important reasons for this is to prevent farmed salmon mating with wild salmon and thus changing their gene composition. To prevent this from happening, triploid salmon has been recognized as one of the solutions to the environmental challenge of escapees. In Norway, specific licenses are dedicated for farming of sterile salmon (triploid salmon) – so called green concessions. Production of sterile fish has increased since the green environmental licenses have been adopted.

StofnFiskur is a part of Benchmark Genetics devision, and leading producer of Atlantic salmon ova with desire to bring value added solutions to its customers. That’s why the company is providing the aquaculture industry with robust and disease-free salmon eggs every week of the year and offering triploid ova to its customers as a special product from its products range.

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Triploid ova, sterile salmon has been recognized as one of the solutions to the environmental challenge of escapees.

The scientists at the Norwegian institute for nature research (NINA) recently reveal that triploid salmon may play significant role in the sustainable development of aquaculture industry. In this new study “Comparisons of reproductive function and fatty acid fillet quality between triploid and diploid farm Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)” researchers demonstrate, that triploid salmon do not pose a significant threat to wild salmon population, has good growth performance and high fillet quality. Triploidy could prevent escaped farm salmon breeding in the wild, while also improving nutrient quality within farmed fillets.

Three sets of chromosomes instead of two

Most salmon currently produced by the aquaculture industry are diploid, possessing the normal two sets of chromosomes within their somatic cells. New research work has demonstrated that triploid salmon can be a contribution towards a more sustainable salmon farming. Sterile fish carrying an extra chromosome has been recognized as one of the solutions to the environmental challenge of escapees, while also improving nutrient quality due to higher levels of omega-3 than in diploid salmon, writes Norwegian institute for nature research.

Production of triploid salmon ova

Through many years of R&D StofnFiskur has developed a secure method for triploidization of salmon ova. In the same way as in humans, the genes in salmon are normally placed on two sets of chromosomes. StofnFiskur can produce triploid ova by exposing fertilized eggs to high pressure in combination with specific temperature levels, at the correct time early in the production process. Then, the fertilized ova get three pairs of chromosomes instead of the natural two, producing salmon that are unable to reproduce. Through strict testing procedures, StofnFiskur ensures that salmon ova sold as triploid really has three sets of chromosomes and therefore are sterile. The production at StofnFiskur takes place in land-based units with the highest standards of biosecurity.

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"We are very proud to deliver high quality genetic material as triploid ova to our customers. Sustainable growth goes hand in hand with conservation of the environment, and we are very pleased to be able to deliver solutions that meet market demands. Jonas Jonasson, a CEO of StofnFiskur"
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By exposing fertilized fish eggs for high pressure, it is possible to create fish with three sets of chromosomes. Photo StofinFiskur

Higher levels of Omega-3

Through research, Triploid salmon have shown to have a range of characteristics that differentiate them from standard diploid salmon, aside from sterility. The scientists at NINA, conducted analysis of fillets showing that total lipid and fatty acid quantities were significantly lower in triploid than in diploid Atlantic salmon fillets. However, when fatty acids were normalized to total lipid content, triploid fillets had significantly higher relative levels of important omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

StofnFiskur to supply triploid eggs to Grieg Canada project

Norway’s Grieg Group has reached an agreement with StofnFiskur to supply over 22 million triploid eggs for a planned salmon farming and processing project in Newfoundland. This agreement will last five years initially with deliveries to start in 2019.

The land-based hatchery will produce up to seven million triploid smolt annually, which will be sold to salmonid aquaculture farms in the province and will be developed on approximately ten hectares of serviced land.

To comply with the strict environmental requirements from the Canadian authorities, the selected eggs will produce sterile salmon (triploid) to avoid reproduction and settling if escapes were to occur. These eggs are genetically selected for growth, high quality characteristics, and improved resistance to a variety of diseases. Assuming that the project is completed, StofnFiskur will be the only foreign company to supply Atlantic salmon genetics to Canada.

Research into sterility in Atlantic salmon

Earlier this year, StofnFiskur and The University of Iceland signed a new agreement on research on triploid Atlantic salmon. The research teams will explore opportunities for producing sterile salmon on a commercial basis and will gain a deeper understanding of the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind the maturation process. Stofnfiskur and the University of Iceland have successfully partnered on several projects in the field of innate immunity over the last eight years.

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Jón Atli Benediksson, Rector of the University of Iceland, and Dr. Jónas Jónasson, the CEO of StofnFiskur

To ensure delivery at the desired time, the orders must be made up to three months in advance.

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