The CAT's facilities on Prince Edward Island include containment for aquatic animal pathogens. Photo: CAT.

US aquaculture investor buys up R&D expertise

North American research and development company The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) has been bought by US-based aquaculture investment fund Cuna Del Mar for an undisclosed sum.

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CAT, previously owned by Linnaeus Capital Partners BV, currently operates two laboratories: its research hub in San Diego, California and state-of-the-art wet lab facilities, including containment for aquatic animal pathogens, located on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  

Its work includes taking part in a government and industry-funded programme by the Eastern Canada Oilseeds Development Alliance that involves developing and evaluating plant-based sources of protein for the aquafeed market.

Dr John Buchanan: New owner "clearly sees the potential for growth" in aquaculture. Photo: CAT.

Sterility technology

In November last year CAT also signed a licensing and research agreement with transgenic-salmon producer AquaBounty Technologies to employ CAT’s patented sterility technology for use in products developed by AquaBounty.

The companies are co-funding CAT’s research using gene editing to produce a sterile finfish for use in aquaculture. The development work is being carried out in San Diego.

Cuna Del Mar’s focus is on open ocean aquaculture. Its portfolio includes submersible-cage maker InnovaSea, and Open Blue, which uses InnovaSea cages to farm cobia 10 miles off the coast of Panama. Earlier this year InnovaSea acquired Norwegian firm Nortek Akvakultur, which it has merged its own Realtime Aquaculture unit to form the InnovaSea Instrumentation team.

Talented team

Robert Orr, managing director of Cuna Del Mar, said: “Cuna del Mar is very pleased to be acquiring the CAT operations in the USA and Canada.

“CAT has a tremendously talented team of people with unique capabilities, who are dedicated to making a difference for our customers and the industry as a whole. We are excited about the possibilities the future holds for this business.”

Dr John Buchanan, chief executive of CAT, said: “We look forward to working within Cuna del Mar, a fund that clearly sees the potential for growth in the aquaculture industry.”

In a press release, the firm said it looks forward to working with other companies within the Cuna Del Mar portfolio and to expanding its capacity for conduct of aquaculture contract research and services in support of the global aquaculture industry.