Odd Magne Rødseth cuts a ribbon to officially open AquaGen's Scottish office, as Scotland chief Andy Reeve looks on. Photo: FFE

AquaGen to start egg production in Scotland

Norway-based salmon and trout egg supplier AquaGen has revealed plans to begin salmon ova production in Scotland.

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AquaGen already has broodstock kept by an un-named Scottish fish farmer to serve as a back-up in case its stock in Norway is compromised, and intends to find a site where it can strip the fish.

Odd Magne Rødseth, former chief executive of AquaGen and now global head of aquaculture for its German parent company, EW Group, outlined the plan to Fish Farming Expert after officially opening the company's office in Stirling.

Three populations of broodstock

Rødseth, a scientist and former salmon farmer who headed AquaGen for 10 years until 2013, said the move to start egg production in Scotland would help serve the Scottish industry better and was also a precautionary measure against any ban on the import of eggs. "You never know whether will find some reason to close the border," he said.

Outlining the plan, he explained: "We have transferred three consecutive populations of broodstock [to Scotland] that are at different levels of development. Part of the oldest generation can be stripped in the coming season if we are ready, although 2018/19 is a more realistic approach.

"We have them in cages now. We have to genotype them, then we transfer them to a land-based facility in fresh water. That is what we are searching for now, a suitable site on land with fresh water for maturation before stripping."

'Back-up and security'

Rødseth said the most likely site for AquaGen would be a former hatchery. "We have to find a proper site that is already there, and rebuild it."

Wester Ross Fisheries boss Gilpin Bradley gave a short speech at the AquaGen opening. Photo: FFE

He said having an egg production facility would be "an advantage in order to serve the Scottish market", adding: "We have a pretty good market share, supplying 25-30 million eggs, and it is an advantage for the Scottish industry to receive the same strain locally."

He continued: "We have lots of broodstock populations in Norway for back-up and security, and this is also part of the overall back-up and security system, so Norway and Scotland can cover each other."

Tackling barriers to growth

Rødseth was one of the speakers at an AquaGen-hosted seminar at the Stirling Court Hotel yesterday.

The wide-ranging event, titled Tackling Barriers To Growth, included talks on fish health, the importance of nutrition, marketing, and looking to the future.

On Tuesday evening Rødseth cut a ribbon to mark the official opening of AquaGen's office at Innovation Park on the University of Stirling campus at an event attended by guests from different sectors of the aquaculture industry including Wester Ross Fisheries boss Gilpin Bradley, who gave a short speech encouraging AquaGen's investment in Scotland.