With summer upon us, New Zealand King Salmon has put in place a number of initiatives to counter the effects of warmer waters in the Marlborough Sounds.

It’s been a tough couple of summers in the Marlborough Sounds with higher water temperatures creating a stressful environment for our fish. Prior to this summer, the company implemented measures to counter these temperatures; specialised summer diets, adapting the breeding programme for temperature resistance and immunisations to improve fish health.

Additionally, the company has made important changes to our production plan to improve fish health and relieve summer stress. These include, single year-class farms, passive grading to reduce the number of fish in pens prior to summer and the installation of upwelling systems on all farms. Upwelling will bring cooler water from depth and create additional flow for the fish.

Single year will also mean farm managers and team members can focus on improving biosecurity, feeding and fish health. It also allows the establishment of fallow periods on all farms which is better for the environment.

“The practices we have introduced leading up to the summer have been done for the health of our salmon,” says Chief Operating Officer Alan Cook. “We believe these changes will protect fish health, improve performance and help us manage through the critical summer period.

“The number of salmon harvested will drop but we are taking a responsible long-term approach so we can deliver on our vision of a thriving and sustainable salmon farming industry for New Zealand,” Mr Cook added.

Ideally, the company would be relocating the lower flow farms to higher flow sites for cooler temperatures. However, the farm relocation consultation has now been in progress for four years, with no early resolution likely. The decision is currently with the Minister of Fisheries.

The company is also applying to have an open ocean farm, Blue Endeavour, 7kms north of Cape Lambert in the Cook Strait. Moving to the open ocean would mean cooler water temperatures with improved fish survival rates.