Kames Fish Farming and Xelect have announced a new partnership to develop the first selective breeding program for sea trout in the UK. Thereby, Kames will get a major boost to the quality of their production. In other words, "faster-growing fish with high survival rates that thrive in their seawater environment".
Firstly, it was assured that the selective breeding program would be based on a highly diverse population, with strong potential for future gains. The method for this was an initial genetic evaluation of Kames' broodstock.
Secondly, Xelect Programme Manager, Lidia de los Rios Perez, explained the next stage: "We will combine genetic analysis of the fish (genotypes) with real-world performance data (phenotypes). By using the latest breeding program management techniques and our highly sophisticated software, OptiMate, Xelect can then identify the optimal crosses to provide Kames with major trait improvements every generation."
In addition, Xelect's CEO, Ian Johnston, noted: "We're really delighted to be working with Kames. They are an institution in Scottish aquaculture. Whilst our customers are spread all over the world, we've always been committed to developing aquaculture in Scotland too."
Finally, Kames' managing director Neil Manchester, added: "This is an exciting stage of development for Kames. As we launch into the next fifty years with fully integrated production. Partnering with Xelect is an obvious choice. It not only preserves our Scottish provenance but offers access to a great team of specialists dedicated to enhancing our own unique strain of steelhead trout."
For 50 years Kames Fish Farming has grown premium steelhead trout in the Inner Hebrides. It is the oldest family-run fish farm in Scotland. Their goal is to create a truly superior product. Recently, they collected the Best Company Award at the Aquaculture Awards.
Xelect is a private company registered in Scotland. It started as a spin-out from a leading aquaculture research group at the University of St Andrews in 2012. The founders were Professor Ian Johnston FRSE, then Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute at the university, and Dr. Tom Ashton.