Norwegian salmon breeder and supplier of eggs, AquaGen, is buying Scottish Sea Farms’ (SSF) freshwater hatchery at Holywood near Dumfries, Scotland, as part of a long-term strategic investment that will further improve fish welfare in Scotland, the company said Thursday.

The acquisition follows a successful trial production of eggs in Autumn 2018 and will enable AquaGen to offer Scotland’s salmon farmers a reliable supply of eggs from locally farmed broodstock.

It will also facilitate a targeted breeding program to identify the genetic and biological traits most suited to performing well in Scottish farming conditions.

"We are committed to providing our customers in Scotland with a secure supply of eggs and this latest investment opens up the possibility of us supplying these eggs from locally grown broodstock," said Nina Santi, CEO of AquaGen.

"We’re planning a series of upgrades to the existing facilities at Holywood, using Scottish suppliers as much as possible, then we will go into full production later this year."

Deliveries will be from November to June initially but longer-term the company hopes to extend to year-round production of up to 50 million eggs annually.

Overseeing production and research will be AquaGen Scotland, which was established in Autumn 2017 and is headquartered at Stirling University Innovation Park.

"This is a hugely promising development for Scotland’s salmon farmers, bringing world-leading breeding expertise and technologies to bear on home-grown broodstock so that their offspring can be adapted to specifically suit the Scottish marine environment," said Ralph Bickerdike, head of fish health at Scottish Sea Farms.

"This, in turn, will bring a whole host of further improvements in terms of fish welfare and product quality."