Hatchery International

News & Views Breeding Genetics Week
Kames and Xelect to develop first selective breeding for sea trout in UK

August 31, 2022  By Hatchery International staff

Xelect is working with Kames Fish Farming to develop the first selective breeding program for sea trout in the UK. (Photo: Xelect)

Scotland’s oldest family-run fish farm is looking to boost its production through genetics.

Kames Fish Farming has entered into a strategic partnership with Scotland-based aquaculture genetics company, Xelect, to develop a new Steelhead trout breeding program. This new program, said to be the first selective breeding program for sea trout in the United Kingdom, will be designed for faster growing fish and high survival rates in the seawater environments of Inner Hebrides, Scotland.

Neil Manchester, managing director at Kames Fish Farming (Photo: Xelect)

“This is an exciting stage of development for Kames as we launch into the next fifty years with fully integrated production,” said Neil Manchester, Kames managing director. “Partnering with Xelect is an obvious choice as it not only preserves our Scottish provenance but offers access to a great team of specialists dedicated to enhancing our own unique strain of Steelhead trout.”

Xelect program manager, Lidia de los Rios Perez, said the project has already started with an initial genetic evaluation of Kames broodstock to ensure that the selective breeding programme would be based on a highly diverse population, with strong potential for future gains. 


“In the next stage, Xelect will combine genetic analysis of the fish (“genotypes”) with real world performance data (“phenotypes”). By using the latest breeding programme management techniques and our highly sophisticated software, OptiMate, Xelect can then identify the optimal crosses to provide Kames with major trait improvements every generation,” said de los Rios Perez.

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