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US secures supply of Atlantic salmon broodstock and eggs with new company SalmoGen

US secures supply of Atlantic salmon broodstock and eggs with new company SalmoGen

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Aquaculture Magazine reports:

Cuna Del Mar, Builders Vision, Xcelerate Aqua and the Maine Penobscot Indian Nation have already received significant support

A few days ago, the coalition between the companies Cuna Del Mar, Builders Vision and Xcelerate Aqua together with the Maine Penobscot Indian Nation was announced for the development of a supply of Atlantic salmon broodstock and eggs in the United States (USA) under the name SalmoGen. The partners revealed that they have been collaborating since late 2022 and expect to have their first products on the market by 2027.

In their launch announcement, SalmoGen members stated that the company is on track to develop a production capacity of 25 million eggs per year for domestic and international sales in the first phase of development, while aiming to mitigate what it sees as a limited egg market in the United States.

The project has received financial support from the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and partners that have joined the initiative include the US Department of Agriculture and the Universities of Maine, Idaho and Maryland.

New location to add to two existing ones

Since its genesis in late 2022, the company has had broodstock under development at two different partner locations, but has now also partnered with the Maine Penobscot Indian Nation to develop a new facility on Penobscot Trust Land in Maine.

While the Penobscot Nation provides the land on which to build, the founding members of the coalition, such as Xcelerate Aqua, bring their expertise in salmon aquaculture.

The Penobscot Indian Nation has long been interested in aquaculture,” said Chief Kirk Francis. “This project is a great fit for Indian Island, and we are excited to be part of the solution for the future development of aquaculture in the United States,” he added.

One of the committed partners

The new venture aims to alleviate biosecurity risks and barriers associated with access to salmon eggs and broodstock in the US.

Chris Perry, Chairman of the Board of SalmoGen, which is also associated with Cuna Del Mar, said: “We have been contemplating an Atlantic salmon farming opportunity for years and, in the case of SalmoGen, the pieces fell into place in a way that moved us to invest and also to be a committed partner to the industry”.

Cuna Del Mar is backed by investments from the Walton family – the founders of Walmart – and has developed a portfolio of aquaculture companies that includes Earth Ocean Farms, OpenBlue, Innovasea, Sol Azul, The Center for Aquaculture Technologies, Blue Ocean Mariculture and, most recently, LocalCoho.

Biosecurity risks

“Non-US strains of salmon eggs have been imported into the US with biosecurity risks,” members of SalmoGen said. “In some states, only one egg option has been approved, while in other states, no egg options have been available, essentially creating barriers for the domestic industry,” they added.

SalmoGen members highlighted that their breeding development has obtained Atlantic salmon strains from the USDA as a “strategic genetic partner”, with an emphasis on performance in land-based systems. The company said it expects to have its first products on the market by 2027.

Long-term needs

Meanwhile, Xcelerate Aqua‘s managing partner Erik Heim was involved in the founding of Nordic Aquafarms – a planned land-based salmon aquaculture facility in Maine – before leaving the project and starting Xcelerate Aqua with co-owner Marianne Naess, who was also part of the Nordic Aquafarms project.

Xcelerate is developing its own land-based salmon project in Millinocket, Maine.

“We are pleased to be part of an initiative that addresses a long-term need of the aquaculture industry in the US and also a US effort with many strong players involved,” Heim said. “The breeding strategies employed mark a path for the development of traits that will be attractive to producers.”

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