Arctic Charr Salvelinus alpinus
Our Charr Project concluded in December 2023 with the technology transferred to our parent company
Aqua hydra Technologies as apart of our management buyout
Arctic Charr are close relatives of both Salmon and Trout. Arguably, Scotland’s oldest freshwater fish, they colonised
Scotland as the ice retreated at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 years ago. So they’ve been here for a while.
These days Arctic Charr remain in just 250 of Scotland’s 31,500 lochs.
They are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species and sadly their future outlook isn’t good. Climate change, eutrophication,
and pollution are taking their toll. With the wild population continuing to shrink.
Unsurprisingly, the commercial fishery is a thing of the past and Arctic Charr have vanished from the Nation’s table.
A shame as Arctic Charr are a wonderful food, with firm flaky flesh like a Salmon but with a less “fishy” taste which appeals
to many palates.
By growing Arctic Charr here in Scotland, Rastech is working to bring this amazing fish back to our tables
in a way which doesn’t cost the Earth. We are pioneers of land based controlled environment aquaculture.
Why did Rastech choose to farm Arctic Charr when the rest of Scotland farms Atlantic Salmon?
For our circular technology to work optimally we need to farm our fish in freshwater as this allows us to mine the “waste” nutrients in our water in order to grow staple crops. We can also do this with seawater, but the resulting niche crops are less useful.
So, the simplest answer is that it’s because in Scotland Arctic Charr have an entirely freshwater lifecycle.
Atlantic Salmon on the other hand, as their name suggests, expect to go to sea at around 20cm long. Forcing them to live in freshwater beyond this point requires persuasion. For us it seems better to provide our fish with what they expect rather than manipulating them to tolerate an alternative reality.
What makes Rastech’s approach different?
- Rastech grows fish on land not in the sea, lakes or rivers
- We employ Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) which means that we use around 600 litres of water to produce a 1kg fish. More traditional forms of shore based aquaculture use around 40,000 litres per 1kg fish produced.
- Our systems are powered by sunshine- even in not so sunny Scotland!
- All of our waste is used and valorised- we do not rely upon the natural environment to clean up after us