Arctic char producer partners with custom genetics firm CAT

Responsible Seafood Advocate

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies teams with Canada’s Icy Waters Ltd.

arctic char
The Center for Aquaculture Technologies teams with Canada’s Icy Waters Ltd. on a new breeding program for Arctic char raised in RAS. Photo courtesy of Icy Waters.

A new partnership will establish a customized genetics-based breeding program for a land-based Canadian Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) producer.

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies in San Diego, Calif., USA will team with Icy Waters Ltd., a company based in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada, the two companies announced on Tuesday.

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

Icy Waters’ breeding approach involves two founder populations of broodstock. With the implementation of a modern selective breeding program and the development of custom genomic tools tailored to the species, CAT will help identify and select the best traits from both stocks.

“CAT are delighted to be partnering with Icy Waters to optimize and accelerate their genetic improvement program,” said Klara Verbyla, VP-genetics at CAT. “With the growing appetite for Arctic char, 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 Arctic char to improve efficiency, production and quality.”

Icy Waters was established in 1985 and operates an integrated hatchery with a quarantined broodstock production unit and egg incubation room, with grow-out in a fully separate tank farm next to the processing facility.

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies is an R&D and contract service organization focused on the application of biotechnology tools to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in aquaculture and related industries. CAT was named a finalist for the Global Seafood Alliance’s Global Aquaculture Innovation Award this year.

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