Alan Tinch has joined the Center for Aquaculture Technologies. Photo: CAT.

CAT hires Benchmark genetics expert Tinch

Canada and US research services company, the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), has appointed Scotland-based Dr Alan Tinch as vice president of genetics.

Published Last updated

CAT said Tinch, who was previously technical services director for Benchmark Genetics Ltd, will lead a world-class team of research scientists and breeding experts in the development and commercialisation of genome editing and other next-generation breeding technologies for use in aquaculture.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh and Roslin Institute, Tinch has more than three decades of experience in advanced animal genetics.

Commercial breeding programs

He is an expert in developing and managing commercial breeding programs and research across both aquatic and terrestrial species with a focus on innovation and sustainability. He has held senior positions in genetics and technical services in leading breeding companies including Benchmark and Hendrix Genetics, both of which produce salmon ova as well as other products.

“Genetics can deliver sustainable improvement in productivity and welfare of farmed fish, and aquaculture is growing to provide increasing amounts of protein to a hungry world with low environmental impact,” said Tinch in a press release.

“New techniques in genomics and gene editing show exciting potential for integration into commercial aquaculture breeding programs. CAT has the vision and expertise to deliver the next generation of genetic technology to the expanding aquaculture industry, and I am excited to be part of the team.”

Dr John Buchanan: "We are thrilled to have a person of Alan’s leadership capabilities join our team."

‘A perfect fit’

CAT president and chief executive John Buchanan said: “We are thrilled to have a person of Alan’s leadership capabilities join our team, and the skill that he brings in driving innovation in aquaculture genetics is a perfect fit at CAT.”

The company said Tinch’s recruitment demonstrated CAT’s intention to strengthen its position as a leader in aquatic animal genetics through the delivery of cutting-edge but practical solutions to organisations in the industry.

CAT has facilities in Victoria and Souris, both on Prince Edward Island, Atlantic Canada, and in San Diego in California, but Tinch will continue to be based in Scotland.

Improving productivity

He told Fish Farming Expert that part of his role involved being a bridge between academia and the practical and commercial application of the latest research.

CAT describes itself as a global, full-service, contract and internal R&D organisation that is focused on the application of technologies to improve productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in the aquaculture industry.

Its services include client-focused genotyping to accelerate genetic improvement in aquatic species. Its AQUAArray line of genotyping tools incorporates novel genetic marker information to advance genetic improvement in both farmed and wild aquatic species.