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Icy Waters, CAT partnership to accelerate genetic improvement in Arctic charr

A selective breeding program and custom genomic tools tailored to Arctic charr will be implemented in Icy Waters’ two founder populations of broodstock.

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Credit: Icy Waters Ltd.

October 18, 2022


The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) and Icy Waters LTD (IWL), producer of award-winning Arctic Charr, partnered on a unique breeding program. Arctic charr is gaining momentum as a sustainable and nutritious food alternative to other commercially successful farmed salmonid species such as salmon and trout.

“Developing sustainable food and protein sources continues to be a key economic factor for many countries around the world. Aquaculture is poised to be an increasingly important contributor to this landscape. With the rise of Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), the benefits in growing charr relative to other salmonids continues to gain interest, given their natural preference for higher densities,” said Doug Hotson, general manager of Icy Waters Ltd.

Icy Waters Ltd. carries out a breeding approach managing two founder populations of broodstock. With the implementation of a modern selective breeding program and the development of custom genomic tools tailored to Arctic charr, CAT will lead the company in selecting the best traits from both stocks, gaining IWL a competitive edge and delivering an unmatched quality product to market.

“CAT is delighted to be partnering with Icy Waters to optimize and accelerate their genetic improvement program. With the growing appetite for Artic charr, it is an exciting and opportune time for the CAT breeding team to partner with Icy Waters to accelerate the rate of genetic gains for key traits in Artic charr to improve efficiency, production, and quality. We look forward to working alongside Icy Waters to bring premium Artic charr to the global market,” said Klara Verbyla, vice president of genetics at CAT.

“Icy Waters Ltd. has been supplying Yukon Gold Ova to the global marketplace over the past 30 years and we have chosen the Center for Aquaculture Technologies as a partner to help us implement a family-based breeding program. The world of fish breeding and genetics is a complex and challenging task, and that is why we chose to work with the expert team at CAT. Working with their diversified team of genetics and breeding professionals will enable IWL to continue to be a leading supplier of ova to satisfy growing global demand for our delicious fish,” concluded Doug Hotson.

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