• Environmental Responsibility, New Zealand King Salmon

When correctly managed, aquaculture is one of the most sustainable ways of producing animal protein.

Worldwide demand for seafood is increasing and aquaculture is a highly efficient use of the marine environment. Pressure on supplies of wild fish in the world’s oceans has encouraged the development of aquaculture. In the early 1970s sea farms were established in Norway and Scotlandraising Atlantic salmon. In the 1980’s New Zealand followed suit with the development of sea farms raising King salmon. Aquaculture takes pressure off ocean fishing and provides the world with valuable and nutritious seafood protein.

Salmon are highly efficient to farm because they are cold blooded and virtually weightless in water. They convert feed to weight extremely well, approximately 1kg of marine protein input produces 1.4kg salmon protein, meaning we are a net producer of marine protein.

Our success is centered on maintaining the purity of the waters in which the salmon are farmed and to keep it this way.

New Zealand King Salmon is firmly committed to sustainability and managing our resources for the long term. Given our animals are notoriously fussy about their environment, environmental integrity is at the heart of our operation.  New Zealand King Salmon is dedicated to producing a top quality product, renowned for its taste, colour, and texture.  So we would not want to do anything to compromise these qualities: quality in = quality out.  Quality and sustainability are achieved through managing several key factors: maintaining a clean rearing environment; ensuring healthy salmon using proactive aquaculture management; sourcing sustainable and nutritious feed ingredients; and practicing careful and humane harvesting methods.

New Zealand King Salmon has been declared a ‘Best Choice’ by Monterey Bay Aqauarium’s Seafood Watch

New Zealand King Salmon is the first and only ocean-farmed salmon to have achieved the Green/’Best Choice’ rating from the globally respected Seafood Watch program. This great result further supports our sustainability credentials and helps you make choices for healthy oceans. ‘Best Choices’ are well managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife, and help consumers select items that are fished or farmed in ways that have less impact on the environment.  For more information about Seafood Watch and the ‘Best Choice’ rating system visit their website here.

Environmental Care

The key activities to avoid or minimise changes to the natural marine environment are:

  • Choosing the Right Farm Sites

     The first step towards avoiding or minimizing impacts on the environment is site selection. Read more here..
  • Best Practice Husbandry and Farm Maintenance

    • Cleaning: Just like land based farming, keeping the farm clean is good for the salmon and the environment. We use high pressure net cleaners to clean our pens.
    • Experienced Staff: A good understanding of environmental processes has been achieved. Our staff are highly skilled at caring for the fish and surrounding environment.
    • Farm Structures, Pens & Predator Nets: All structures are easily moveable and are designed to blend in as much as possible with the coastal environment. Sea pens are about 17 meters deep, and the distance to the sea floor another 15 meters, to allow plenty of current to flow through. The depth of the pens offer improved growing conditions, allowing the salmon to move below the surface water and away from surface related stress. The pens are surrounded by a large predator net, as the presence of predators – like seals, sharks and dolphins, can cause the salmon intense stress.
    • Feed: Feed control equipment and systems ensure efficient use of feed to minimise waste. Feed ingredients are assessed prior to inclusion in diets to avoid substances which might contaminate the environment. All feed ingredients are sourced from sustainably certified fisheries and certified GMO, BSE free and is fully traceable .
    • Fish Welfare: The welfare of our salmon and the health of our environment are intrinsically linked. Because of its isolation, New Zealand is uniquely free of the known pathogenic diseases that can affect salmon. Pathogens are regularly screened for by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and New Zealand King Salmon’s own fish health monitoring programme – none have been detected. New Zealand King Salmon fish do not suffer from sea lice as King salmon are naturally resistant and sea lice in the Southern Hemisphere are smaller than those found in the far north.  Therefore New Zealand King Salmon do not carry out any sea lice treatments.
    • Stocking Density: Stocking rates are kept low. 2% of the sea pen volume is salmon and 98% is sea water, which flows freely through the structures.

  • Robust Management Systems and Compliance with Legislation

    • Benthic Environmental Quality Standards and Monitoring: Daily monitoring of oxygen levels, water temperature and salinity ensures conditions are right for the salmon. The water column and the seabed are monitored by an independent science provider. Environmental conditions must be within certain standards to comply with resource consents. The environmental impact of the company’s operations and processes are constantly monitored, this is to ensure the good health and productivity of the salmon, as well as making certain that the farms are not significantly affecting the surrounding water quality or the natural marine ecosystems. The ability of the environment to fully recover within several years has been demonstrated, and effective methods of monitoring and managing effects around the farms have been put in place.
    • Discharge: There are limits to discharge levels and we have to stick to these. It is ok to have some waste as worms and micro-organisms that live under the pens eat and break down this waste. However tolerance levels are set and our management systems must track this to avoid non-compliance.
    • Other Management Plans have been put in place to include:
      • Biosecurity
      • Marine mammals and sharks
      • Other Sounds wildlife
      • Minimising impacts on recreational users of the Sounds, residents, tourism operators
Salmon Farm + fish cropped and web

Graphic impression of underwater pens and moorings at Clay Point Farm

New Zealand King Salmon has a strong sense of environmental responsibility and aims to lead the world in sustainable, renewable, farmed King salmon resource management.

With the public’s increasing awareness of the environment, aquaculture has been the subject of close scrutiny, and the regulation of its effects is now well advanced in New Zealand. Independent monitoring of these effects is a requirement and this is provided by the Cawthron Institute.

In addition, New Zealand King Salmon, the Marlborough District Council, marine scientists and environmental campaigners have been working together to develop ‘Best Management Practice Guidelines’ for salmon farming. This work is being facilitated and guided by renowned international experts to bring confidence and independence to the process. These best practice guidelines will help protect the environment while including the community and industry, and are standards we can proudly promote to the world. These BMP Guidelines can be found here.

As well as monitoring the environmental impact of our sea farms, New Zealand King Salmon is also proactive regarding the effect on the more general environment of all other aspects of its operations. We make every effort to use resources and energy efficiently and responsibly, and to minimise or recycle waste.

All our farms and processing facilities have proudly achieved the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification from the Global Aquaculture Alliance, this is testament to our commitment to the environment, staff well-being, food safety, animal welfare and traceability.

We are also a member of the Global Salmon Initiative. The GSI is a collaboration between the world’s largest salmon producers to further improve sustainability in our industry.