King salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), sometimes known as Chinook, are an anadromous fish, meaning they are adapted to life in both fresh and sea water. They are born in fresh water, spend most of their life at sea and then they return to fresh water to spawn.
King salmon were introduced into New Zealand from northern California as a game fish in the late 19th Century. However it wasn’t until the 1980s that New Zealand entrepreneurs sought to develop salmon farms in the cool, deep waters of the Marlborough Sounds.
King salmon is the only salmon species farmed in New Zealand, with The New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd being the world’s major supplier, producing just over 50% of the world’s supply from just five surface hectares in the Marlborough Sounds.
But the King salmon is still a rare species of salmon, and New Zealand King salmon only makes up about 0.6% of the world’s farmed salmon population. The main species of salmon that is farmed around the world is Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar).
We produce just over 50% of the world’s King salmon from just five surface hectares in the Marlborough Sounds.