Joaquin Garcia Nuñez is the new production direction for AquaGen's Scottish hatchery. Photo: AquaGen.
Joaquin Garcia Nuñez is the new production direction for AquaGen's Scottish hatchery. Photo: AquaGen.

Salmon veteran takes ova at AquaGen’s Scottish hatchery

Chilean national Joaquin Garcia Nuñez has been appointed as production director for AquaGen Scotland, charged with leading developments at the company’s Holywood hatchery, near Dumfries.

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He will also keep an eye on the company’s Scottish brood fish populations, which are located in a number of sites on the west coast and in the Northern Isles.

Garcia Nuñez has been with AquaGen since 1999, most recently as global production development manager, based in Scotland, but working between the company’s operations in Scotland, Norway and Chile.

AquaGen aims to produce around 30 million salmon eggs at Hollywood over the next nine months.
AquaGen aims to produce around 30 million salmon eggs at Hollywood over the next nine months.

Optimum husbandry

“I continue to champion and manage global best practice, but my immediate focus is to ensure the new and enthusiastic team at Holywood are fully trained to maintain optimum husbandry of the broodstock and manage the egg production. This is a complex task, which is all about predictability, and our most important goal is to take a positive approach to local production and to focus fully on getting a high-quality egg,” he said.

AquaGen Scotland produces eggs specifically for the Scottish market, with genetics tailored to local conditions. Good growth rates come as standard, said the company in a press release, but Scottish customers also look for robustness, and for resistance to gill disease and sea lice. Ongoing trials show that the company’s genomic selection process is effective in achieving this.

Teething troubles

Since purchasing the Holywood hatchery from Scottish Sea Farms in 2019 and instigating a complete re-fit to repurpose it from a smolt production facility, AquaGen has had to overcome early teething troubles with equipment, and with the working and supply restrictions imposed by Covid-19.

Garcia Nuñez is confident that his team is ready for the task ahead.

“We aim to produce around 30 million eggs over the next nine months, and are looking forward to a good season. Eggs will be available from mid-October until June,” he said.

Knowledge and experience

Andy Reeve, AquaGen Scotland managing director, said: “The knowledge and experience that Joaquin brings with him to this role will be a critical factor in the successful development of our business here in Scotland. 

“I am confident that with his energy and enthusiasm, we will soon be reliably supplying the best locally selected genetics packaged in the highest quality egg.”