Speaking at Aqua Sur 2008 this week in Chile, he said: he company was constantly seeking improvements in the genetics of its stock and has achieved some major advances in the two years since aquaculture’s global leaders were last in Puerto Montt.
"Working closely with our sister companies in Scotland - Landcatch Ltd and the specialist breeding company, Landcatch Natural Selection Ltd. (LNS), we’re now able to breed for an extremely high level of welfare and commercial excellence. To borrow a term from our country’s wine industry, we’re definitely in the 'Reserva Especial' sector of the market."
A key factor in Landcatch Chile’s sustained breeding progress during the past two years is the success of LNS in becoming the first company to successfully locate a major gene which affects resistance to infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN), a discovery which is now being used commercially to further improve IPN resistance in Landcatch Atlantic salmon.
"We’re confident that our IPN resistance breakthrough is the first of many such advances"
José Manuel, General Manager, Landcatch Chile
The location of this important gene is the result of collaboration between geneticists at LNS and scientists at Roslin Institute and the Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), Stirling University, whose combined research was based on over 10 years of data and DNA samples collected from pedigree Landcatch Atlantic salmon.
"This is the first time that genetic markers have been used in marker-assisted selection in a commercial breeding programme for fish," said Dr Alan Tinch, LNS breeding programme director. "It’s an extremely valuable advance which is already delivering significant welfare improvements and enhanced commercial performance."
In addition to being able to breed for IPN resistance, LNS is also continuing to work with Roslin and IoA on the identification of genes which affect other commercially-important traits and resistance to other diseases.
"We’re confident that our IPN resistance breakthrough is the first of many such advances," said José Manuel.
"In the future, therefore, we’ll be looking to continue to secure improvements across a whole range of breeding traits, delivering new levels of stock robustness, better growth rates, disease resistance, stock welfare, flesh quality and enhanced production efficiency. These improvements will be delivered to our customers by direct sale of Landcatch eggs and our expanding network of Satellite Broodstock operations."