The Chilean industry deserves to have a broader choice of genetics

Read an exclusive interview, with Trond Williksen, CEO of Benchmark Holdings plc, and Jan-Emil Johannessen, Director of Benchmark Genetics for Salmonexpert. They talk about the current and future focus, commitment, and strategic plans of Benchmark Genetics and BENCHMARK ANIMAL HEALTH in Chile.

Benchmark Genetics Chile has two production facilities in the country and is preparing, at the national level, the availability of 50 million salmon ova for the next two to three years. Benchmark Holdings is a dynamic company. In the last two years, they have let part of their business go to establish a greater imprint on the national scene. This year, the firm completed the sale of Fish Vet Group to Zoetis and in 2019, it received the US $ 16.25 million and other assets after the mutually agreed dissolution of the genetic improvement joint venture with AquaChile.

From Norway, Trond Williksen, CEO of Benchmark Holdings, believes that this latest process presented an opportunity to take control of the breeding operation and pursue an independent strategy in Chile to establish a strong local presence in this important market.

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"We have embarked on a journey to optimize the company and focus efforts on our core strengths in genetics, health and advanced nutrition. We are in a much stronger position to invest in our core areas and develop innovative products and solutions for clients"

The intention of adjusting its technology, products, and services to the local productive reality is prevailing. In May this year, Pablo Mazo was appointed as director of Benchmark Genetics Chile (BGCL). While, last July, they announced the launch of Benchmark Animal Health Chile (BAHC), by Javier Moya. Both have extensive experience in the salmon industry, both companies distribute products in the region, in addition to providing technical support to salmon producers.

This includes the sale and distribution of Purisan, Benchmark’s current sea lice treatment. The firm has two facilities to produce salmon eggs in the country and is preparing the availability of 50 million ova for the next two to three years. This figure represents about 8% of the current national production market share that is marketed in the country.

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Jan-Emil Johannessen, Director of Genetics at Benchmark Holdings, states that one of the key elements of BGCL’s long-term commitment to the Chilean salmon farming industry is the full adaptation of its product to the specific requirements and challenges of the national industry, which requires time and collaborative work.

For Johannessen, the Chilean industry deserves to have a wider choice of genetics and an increase in competitive demand, and they have no doubts about what they can bring: “Our market share is 85% in the Faroe Islands with the StofnFiskur strain, and in Europe, 50% of the salmon produced is based on our genetics from Iceland and Norway”.

“Our mission is to offer a year-round supply of high-quality, biosecure products customized for the specific challenges and requirements of the local industry. The commercial strategy is based on collaborative customer service and technical support, and the objective is to achieve the same success in Chile as we have obtained in the markets of Europe and around the world ”, he adds.


Jan-Emil Johannessen, Director of Genetics at Benchmark Holdings

Sea lice

Sea lice remain one of the main challenges for salmon farming. Therefore, Benchmark Holdings is working on developing a new sea lice medicine BMK08, and CleanTreat®, a water purification system that removes medications from treatment water before returning to the sea. Trond Williksen says that the current focus is on the commercial launch of both concepts in Norway. Read the full article in the new issue of Salmonexpert magazine…

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"We believe this solution will be transformative for the industry. We are aware of the challenges of Caligus in Chile and are in discussions with customers and authorities in Chile to bring BMK08 and CleanTreat® to market." Trond Williksen, CEO of Benchmark Holdings plc.
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