Relocating New Zealand King Salmon Farms
New Zealand King Salmon is working positively with the government to progress a proposal to relocate several farms to higher flow waters. The proposal aims to reduce environmental impact, mitigate summer temperatures, create even more green jobs, and prepare for the future of salmon farming.
To relocate the farms, a decision is required from the Minister of Fisheries (Hon Stuart Nash) under the Resource Management Act 1991.
The proposal is based on relocating nine surface hectares presently consented to be farmed.
The relocation proposal is crucial to the long-term viability of salmon farming in the top of the South Island.
Demand for premium King salmon currently outstrips supply, requiring some customer rationing and the importing of overseas salmon to fill the gap, both of which constrain New Zealand King Salmon’s ability to employ more people in the top of the south.
If New Zealand King Salmon cannot relocate, we may need to reduce production and scale back our business.
Relocation will enable New Zealand King Salmon to operate in the most suitable water space for salmon farming, and importantly, do so with a reduced environmental footprint.
What will relocation achieve?
- Salmon farming is already one of the most efficient forms of animal food production in the world and our current farms operate on a very low environmental footprint. To improve environmental standards further, the proposed sites are in areas with higher flows and deeper waters.
- Relocation would be a major step on a pathway to farming offshore. It will enable growth in the medium-term, with no increase in consented farming space in the Marlborough Sounds. It would also allow us to test new technology that has not been used in New Zealand before, which would be critical to offshore farming.
- The relocation proposal, according to an independent third-party report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, if fully implemented, would create hundreds of new jobs and is anticipated to generate close to $200 million in additional revenue annually.
- A series of research reports have consistently identified salmon farming as one of the key sectors New Zealand could expand to create further wealth, particularly in our regions.
- New Zealand King Salmon’s starting wage is $19.40/hour and we are working towards paying all team members the Living Wage. This relocation proposal would help realise that ambition.
- New Zealand King Salmon invests a considerable amount in improving and growing its business. We spent close to $22 million during the last two years, ending June 2018, on operational infrastructure such as a new feed barge, additional pens to expand two farms, and improved processing equipment.
Relocating farms is a vital step to moving into the open ocean
Offshore farming is a developing aquaculture practice where farms are located in deeper, less sheltered, high energy surface waters with stronger currents. They are typically several kilometres away from land, to significantly reduce the environmental effects and other constraints that can affect inshore aquaculture
Moving into the open ocean presents new and significant technological challenges for fish farming, but also opportunities for high-value aquaculture expansion with enhanced social and environmental outcomes.
The proposed relocation is an important intermediate step designed to develop the expertise to farm offshore. It will also help ensure our company keeps growing so we can afford to invest in new technology.
Why Offshore Farming
Offshore farming is the future of salmon farming, not only in New Zealand but globally.
Offshore farming has a range of benefits over the current in-shore method, including improved biosecurity, a reduction in the effects of seasonal temperature changes (which are more extreme inshore), improved animal welfare and reduced environmental and community impacts. Offshore farming will still require a smaller number of sites closer to shore to allow for smolt growth and harvest.
The New Zealand King Salmon team have recently returned from AquaVision 2018, a major global aquaculture conference in Norway, and saw first-hand how offshore farming is evolving.