The Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) is feeding on the parasite that causes most of the current problems for the salmon industry. Living in a friendly symbiosis along with the salmon in the sea cages, this cleaner fish has become a very important tool in the fight against the parasite.
Since 2014, Benchmark Genetics has produced Lumpfish fingerlings in Iceland. Based on the previous experience of the company in marine species, the farming of lumpfish has been successful. We deliver about 3 Million juveniles to the Faroes and Icelandic salmon farmers on a yearly basis. Our lumpfish are robust, with a high tolerance for variable farming temperatures, high survival rates and an excellent appetite for sea lice.
Production is carried out at our dedicated lumpfish farm in Hafnir, Iceland. The farm, originally a fish processing plant and later a fish farm for various marine species such as Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut and shrimp, has been rebuilt, modified and adapted to the needs of a lumpfish hatchery.
Our broodstock is hand-selected from the commercial lumpfish industry in Iceland, making our impact on the wild stock minimal.
The broodstock is taken to our quarantined incubation facility and stripped for eggs and milt. Every fish is individually screened for pathogens by Icelandic fish health authorities.
Eggs from every female are incubated separately, making it possible to select the best quality eggs from every stripping.
After being confirmed disease-free, the eggs can be brought to our hatchery around a month after stripping.
After transportation to the hatchery, the larvae will hatch and be introduced to the live feed Sep-Art artemia from our sister company, Benchmark Advanced Nutrition/Inve Aquaculture. Dry feed is introduced after about ten days post hatching.
Due to the wild origin of the fish, there is significant variability in growth. At around two months post-hatch, the fish is graded every two weeks to increase their welfare using custom made lumpfish graders.
Each fish is manually inspected and vaccinated before export to ensure their quality and welfare in the sea cages into which they soon will be entering.
The transportation of lumpfish fingerlings from Iceland is carried out using specially designed marine shipping containers. For smaller batches, airfreight is the recommended means of transport.
In the sea cages, the lumpfish encounter a completely new environment where they must adapt to different challenges.
We work closely with our customers to solve emerging challenges in the sea cage environment with the aim of increasing lumpfish welfare and ensuring we are delivering lumpfish that will perform their duties as cleaner fish.