Salmon breeder and egg supplier AquaGen has signed a deal to buy Scottish Sea Farms’ freshwater hatchery at Holywood near Dumfries. This is a long-term strategic investment that will further improve fish welfare in Scotland. The acquisition follows a successful trial production of eggs under license in fall 2018 and will enable the company to offer Scotland’s salmon farmers a reliable supply of eggs from locally farmed AquaGen broodstock. It will also facilitate a targeted breeding program to identify the genetic and biological traits most suited for good performance in Scottish farming conditions, resulting in robust fish stock and a market high-quality product.
AquaGen AS Chief Executive Officer, 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 for supplying these eggs from locally-grown broodstock. We’re planning a series of upgrades to the existing facilities at Holywood using Scottish suppliers as much as possible. Then, we will go into full production later this year. Deliveries will be from November to June initially and we hope to extend to year-round production of up to 50 million eggs annually.”
Unlike coastal hatcheries, the four-acre inland hatchery at Holywood uses groundwater drawn from a series of bore holes. This system is known for its biosecurity, quality and constant temperatures that are well-suited for egg production.
Scottish Sea Farms’ Head of Fish Health Ralph Bickerdike said, “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.”