Our seawater farm locations

Our seawater farm locations


Seafarm sites require high quality, deep, cool waters with sufficient flow. Our Marlborough Sounds seafarms are situated in the Tory Channel, Queen Charlotte Sound and Pelorus Sound.

Seafarm process


Arrival of smolt

Smolt arrive in custom-built tankers which are designed to maintain a cool, oxygenated environment. Each batch of smolt are transferred to a dedicated pen. In order to minimise stress, there is no handling of the fish while they grow, which typically takes around 18 months.



King salmon require a unique diet for optimal health and growth, and the formulation of this diet changes throughout their lifecycle. The main components of the feed are complex fats and quality proteins, along with carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals. Automatic feeders are used to dispense several meals each day - more often when salmon are smaller, and less often as they grow. Underwater cameras closely monitor appetite and activity during each feed, to ensure our salmon receive just the right amount and no feed is wasted.



Our King salmon typically take around 18 months to reach an optimal harvest weight of around 4kg. We gently corral the salmon with specially designed nets which allow smaller fish to pass through. Once the fish are harvested, they are then transported on ice by specialised tankers straight to our Nelson processing facility.

Compliance and regulation

Globally, salmon farming is a highly regulated industry. In New Zealand, consents and regulations for fish farming are primarily legislated under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Fisheries Act 1996.

Under the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Marlborough District Council (MDC) regulations, our seafarm consent conditions are reviewed annually. All documentation related to our farm consents and results from annual monitoring are available to the public via the MDC website.

Farm monitoring reports

Tory Channel
Queen Charlotte Sound
Pelorus Sound

Farming in balance

To ensure we operate in harmony with our unique environment, we work closely with MDC, MPI & independent science providers to develop Best Management Practice (BMP) guidelines for salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds. Drawing on international science, we are in the process of implementing these guidelines across all our seafarm sites.

To view the BMP guidelines, visit the MDC website here.

Operational changes

We have recently implemented some operational changes in order to improve our practices for the overall wellbeing of our fish.


we aim to minimise handling as much as possible


to provide cooler water from depth and improve water flow


for balanced growth, to separate larger fish for harvest and reduce biomass before summer


post-harvest assessment of nets for replacement or repair and disinfection


to allow seabed remediation and essential farm maintenance

Relocation proposal

Today, the demand for our premium King salmon outweighs the supply. Seasonal changes in water temperatures are affecting the welfare of our salmon at certain farm locations. By relocating some of our seafarms, not only will our salmon thrive all year round, but we’ll also reduce our environmental footprint whilst creating more jobs for the region as we increase our ability to meet production demand.

The joint relocation proposal between NZKS and the Marlborough Iwi Aquaculture Organisations, is based on relocating several hectares that are already consented for farming, to areas that will provide optimum salmon farming conditions.

What relocation could achieve

Potential new jobs


Summer water temperatures

We monitor water temperatures along with other conditions, in and around our Marlborough Sounds seafarms on a year round basis.

Our aquaculture team are focused on new operational strategies to mitigate the effects of rising water temperatures, especially throughout the summer period.

Average weekly 5m water temperature

Average weekly 5m water temperature


Average weekly 5m water temperature


**The 2019/2020 temperatures were taken from Otanerau seafarm. However, Otanerau is currently undergoing a fallow period, therefore, data will be captured from Ruakaka this season.