Noray Seafood today announced the appointment of its new CEO. Benjamin Björkenheim-Ajo took over from Bjørn Aspheim who, in addition to being former CEO, is co-founder of the company, which produces fresh and sustainable land-based farmed prawns in Medina del Campo, Valladolid, Spain.
Key moment for Noray’s expansion
Benjamin Ajo’s appointment comes at a time of “change and reflection” for Noray. After experiencing very positive growth, the company is now at a key point to continue its expansion goals and successfully meet the strong demand from a market that continues to seek sustainable alternatives to shrimp farming.
“Noray Seafood will have the opportunity to produce shrimp in Europe locally under full control,” his predecessor, Bjørn Aspheim, told WeAreAquaculture in an exclusive interview following the partnership signed late last year with CP Foods to import shrimp broodstock and supply postlarvae throughout Europe.
Aspheim, who has been at the helm of the company for more than 15 years, leading the production of fresh prawns from Spain, is a revolutionary in the sustainable aquaculture sector who, together with an ambitious team of professionals, has managed to transform and position a new product category with innovation, quality and sustainability as the main axes of its strategy.
Ajo now joins the team to lead the brand strategy and continue to drive the business forward to meet Noray’s expansion goals beyond its current facilities in Medina del Campo, Valladolid, in central Spain, almost 400 kilometers from the nearest coast.
Objective: become a leader in the European shrimp industry
“I am convinced that Noray is going to change the rules of the game in shrimp production, driving its strategy towards sustainability and quality with a great team in a state-of-the-art facility and with the solid backing of long-term investors,” says the new CEO at the announcement of his appointment. “I am truly grateful for the opportunity and look forward to helping to develop the company to its full potential,” he continues.
Benjamin Ajo has been working for 20 years in various management positions in the seafood industry where he has also designed and led successful international sales strategies. His last position before joining Noray was as Chief Commercial Officer at RE:OCEAN, the Swedish salmon company that has brought some of Sweden’s largest investors, including one of the heirs of Ikea, into land-based aquaculture.
Noray is convinced that all this background and professional experience “undoubtedly” fits the current strategic needs of the fresh and sustainable shrimp producer for the next phase of its business growth.
“I am really pleased that Benjamin, with his extensive commercial and management experience in the sustainable seafood sector, has accepted the position of Managing Director in the company,” states Truls Persen, Chairman of the Board of Noray. “I am confident that he and the rest of the team form a perfect tandem to make Noray the undisputed leader in the European prawn industry,” he concludes.
About Noray Seafood
Founded in 2008, after years of investment in R&D, Noray is a benchmark for sustainable aquaculture in Europe thanks to the 100% vertical integration of all its production processes, which also use water recycling mechanisms with low energy consumption and zero waste. All this has helped them to achieve ASC certification, making them the first inland shrimp farming company in the world to obtain it.
The shrimp brand from Medina del Campo, Valladolid, Spain, offers a 100% natural shrimp, respectful of its environment, which has been awarded the highest possible score (3 stars) in the prestigious Superior Taste Award 2022. In addition to a group of Norwegian investors, since 2022 it also counts among its partners SWEN Blue Ocean, Stellar Impact and Creadev Food & Ag.