Key acquisition to boost Scottish fish welfare

Salmon breeder AquaGen has signed a deal to buy Scottish Sea Farms’ freshwater hatchery near Dumfries as part of a long-term investment that aims to further improve fish welfare north of the Border.

AquaGen broodstock eggs being tested for biosecurity. Picture: Contributed
AquaGen broodstock eggs being tested for biosecurity. Picture: Contributed

The acquisition follows a successful trial production of fish eggs under licence last autumn and will enable the Norwegian-owned company to offer a reliable supply of eggs from locally farmed AquaGen broodstock.

AquaGen chief executive Nina Santi said: “We are committed to providing our customers in Scotland with a secure supply of eggs and this latest investment opens up the possibility of us supplying these eggs from locally-grown broodstock.

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“We’re planning a series of upgrades to the existing facilities at Holywood [near Dumfries], using Scottish suppliers as much as possible, then we will go into full production later this year.”

Scottish Sea Farms’ head of fish health, Ralph Bickerdike, added: “This is a hugely promising development for Scotland’s salmon farmers, bringing world-leading breeding expertise and technologies to bear on home-grown broodstock so that their offspring can be adapted to specifically suit the Scottish marine environment.

“This, in turn, will bring a whole host of further improvements in terms of fish welfare and product quality.”