New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS) is welcoming the support for its application to farm in the open ocean in the Cook Strait.

“It’s fantastic to see the numerous positive submissions Marlborough District Council has received in response to our application for Blue Endeavour,” says New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne.

The company has applied for a 35-year consent for a site which is 7km north of Cape Lambert, Marlborough. If the application is approved, the company intends to commission an initial farm with the potential to grow 4000 tonnes of King salmon.

Mr Rosewarne says submitters have recognised that if resource consent is approved there will be a significant boost to the economy and green jobs created across the Top of the South.

“Currently New Zealand King Salmon employs over 500 people in the region, all of whom are paid the Living Wage at a minimum, and we want to see that number grow.

“Our changing climate and the need for low-impact, high-nutrition food are truly global issues,” says Mr Rosewarne. “We see aquaculture as a force for good in addressing these challenges. We are investing in what we think will be the future of sustainable food production.”

The Government launched its Aquaculture strategy in September which includes open ocean farming and sets a target for the industry to reach $3 billion in 2035 – currently it is worth over $625 million.

The submissions also included a number of opposing parties, mainly around site-specific environmental concerns. “It’s really good to know that some individuals and groups have the same concern for the environment as we do,” says Mr Rosewarne.

“The council’s independent experts have carried out an initial review of our application and have asked for further supporting information which we are working on. Further reports are being completed which we believe will address some of the issues and concerns raised by submitters.”
Prior to the application, NZKS consulted a wide range of groups, including iwi, fishing companies, Department of Conservation (DOC), Forest and Bird, the Environmental Defence Society and local community groups.

“Experts representing a variety of groups have been working together for some time to develop management plans and monitoring and modelling scenarios,” says Mr Rosewarne.

“The work covers management plans for sea birds, marine mammals and sharks, fish, navigation and safety management, monitoring and management of biosecurity. These plans will be available before a pre-hearing meeting so they can be reviewed and we welcome input from any party with the relevant subject matter expertise.”

Proposed consent conditions are also being drafted in cooperation with a range of parties.
In term of pen structures for the farms, the company is working closely with manufacturers to refine the structures to be placed on the Blue Endeavour location.

“They have taken data from Metocean and NIWA and our data and used sophisticated software to model potential pen scenarios to ensure the structures are robust enough to suit the conditions, and to keep our teams and salmon safe,” says Mr Rosewarne.

“NZKS is in a unique position of not being able to grow enough King salmon to satisfy both the New Zealand market and overseas markets. The Blue Endeavour farms will help us deliver on the future demand expected for our high quality, sustainable King salmon products.”

For any further information, contact Paul McIntyre on 021 598541.

• NZKS currently has nine operational farms, all in the Marlborough Sounds, producing around 8,000 tonnes of King salmon per year.
• The company is also proposing to carry out monitoring research in other locations off the East coast of the South Island to assess suitability for future open ocean salmon farming opportunities that allow the development of geographically distinct, bio secure farming regions.
• A proposal to relocate salmon farms to better locations within the Marlborough Sounds is currently before the Minister of Fisheries.