For the past several years, Mowi Scotland has been reliant on external egg supply since the export ban of ova from Norway restricted the supply of high-quality eggs available to Scotland. Recent approvals to produce broodstock and eggs in Scotland will help secure a high-quality egg supply for the company by enabling it to select parent fish whose offspring will be most robust to the specific challenges faced locally and providing significant advances in survival and performance.
To prepare for a made-in-Scotland broodstock program, the next generation salmon were taken in 2021 from Mowi nucleus in Ireland and raised at seawater farms in Scotland. After a few weeks in freshwater this autumn, Mowi breeding experts began checking the salmon for readiness to spawn and the first fish were identified as ripe and stripped of their eggs last month.
“The egg stripping has gone very well this season – considering this is only a temporary solution as we move to secure quality egg supply to Mowi Scotland with a bespoke facility,” said John Richmond, broodstock and post-smolt development manager.
This broodstock facility at Ardessie will use the latest recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology to enable the use of temperature and photoperiod regimes to produce early and late season eggs, a key element of Mowi’s freshwater smolt production plan.
“We envisage the new farm will produce up to 50 million eyed eggs to supply our production hatcheries. This facility should be complete in the spring of 2025 in time for the next generation of broodstock,” added John.
DNA analysis was undertaken during spawning and all the male fish were ranked by the Mowi geneticists according to their breeding index. The geneticists are considering DNA markers that indicate high growth and robustness towards disease challenges, as well as flesh pigment quality.
Mowi Scotland will soon be accepting applications for careers at its new broodstock facility at Ardessie. Career postings will be detailed here.