Neil Manchester, the managing director of Scottish trout farmer Kames Fish Farming and former head of Hendrix Genetics' aquaculture arm, has died aged 59.

“Neil Manchester died very suddenly at his home on Sunday," the company posted in a statement on LinkedIn on May 30.

"Our hearts go out to his wife and two children, we offer them all our thoughts and condolences at such a difficult time."

A spokesperson for Kames Fish Farming confirmed the news to IntraFish.

"It is a huge shock to everyone at Kames, as we’re sure it is to all of you who have known and worked with Neil. He was a much-loved leader, colleague and friend, who has added so much to our business," read the statement.

"Most of all he had an absolute passion for our values, our community and our staff. We will carry on his vision and honor his great investment and commitment to us all.”

Manchester, a much-respected seafood industry veteran with more than 35 years experience, took up the role at Kames in February last year after stepping down as managing director of Hendrix Genetics aquaculture business unit in 2021.

During his tenure at Hendrix, Manchester oversaw the acquisition of Washington State breeding group Troutlodge and shrimp breeding group Kona Bay, as well as expansions for the group into Chile, Ecuador and Indonesia.

He said his decision to leave Hendrix was motivated in part by re-evaluation of his career priorities during the COVID lockdowns.

He began his fish farming career at Kames in 1985, before moving to Landcatch in 1998 and then Hendrix Genetics in 2011.

Kames is a family-run farm growing steelhead trout in the remote waters off the west coast of Scotland.