Icy Waters and CAT partner to accelerate genetic improvement in Arctic Charr

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By Milthon Lujan

The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT), leaders in delivering custom genetics research solutions to the industry, and Icy Waters LTD (IWL), a premium producer of award-winning Arctic Charr, announced the partnership on a unique breeding program. Arctic Charr is gaining momentum as a sustainable and nutritious food alternative to other commercially successful farmed salmonid species such as salmon and trout.

Arctic Charr.
Arctic Charr. Photo credit: Icy Waters Ltd.

“Developing sustainable food and protein sources continues to be a key economic factor for many countries around the world. Aquaculture is poised to be an increasingly important contributor to this landscape. With the rise of Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), the benefits in growing Charr relative to other salmonids continues to gain interest, given their natural preference for higher densities.” – says Doug Hotson, General Manager of Icy Waters Ltd.


Icy Waters Ltd. carries out a breeding approach managing two founder populations of broodstock. With the implementation of a modern selective breeding program and development of custom genomic tools tailored to Arctic Charr, CAT will lead the company in selecting for the best traits from both stocks, gaining IWL a competitive edge and delivering an unmatched quality product to market.

“CAT are delighted to be partnering with Icy Waters to optimize and accelerate their genetic improvement program. With the growing appetite for Artic Charr, it is an exciting and opportune time for the CAT breeding team to partner with Icy Waters to accelerate the rate of genetic gains for key traits in Artic Charr to improve efficiency, production, and quality. We look forward to working alongside Icy Waters to bring premium Artic Charr to the global market.” – says Klara Verbyla, Vice President of Genetics at CAT.

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“Icy Waters Ltd. has been supplying Yukon Gold Ova to the global marketplace over the past 30 years and we have chosen the Center for Aquaculture Technologies as a partner to help us implement a family-based breeding programme. The world of fish breeding and genetics is a complex and challenging task, and that is why we chose to work with the expert team at CAT. Working with their diversified team of genetics and breeding professionals will enable IWL to continue to be a leading supplier of Ova to satisfy growing global demand for our delicious fish.” – concludes Doug Hotson.

Icy Waters Ltd. (IWL) is a fully integrated aquaculture company dedicated to the development of Arctic Charr as a premium-quality, fresh water finfish species. Located in the beautiful city of Whitehorse in Canada’s renowned Yukon Territory, the company was established in 1985 and quickly became a world leader in Arctic Char aquaculture. The facilities include an integrated hatchery with a quarantined broodstock production unit and egg incubation room. Ongrowing takes place in a fully separate tank farm next to the federally inspected processing facility, making Icy Waters’ award-winning Arctic Charr the freshest and highest quality available.


The Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) is an R&D and contract service organization focused on the application of biotechnology tools to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in aquaculture and related industries. A joint US-Canada operation with facilities located in San Diego, California and in Victoria and Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada, our aquacultural expertise and experience combined with a solid background in cellular and molecular technologies and in vivo testing gives CAT a unique advantage in delivering research-based solutions. Contact us for information about collaborative opportunities for a diverse range of projects from discovery through final product development and testing.

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