The globally respected sustainable seafood authority the Monterey Bay Aquarium has given seafood lovers the green light to eat New Zealand salmon. New Zealand marine and freshwater farmed salmon have achieved a second successive, ‘Best Choice’ rating under the latest […]
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“Fish-on!” In the pre-dawn waters of the Campbell River, in British Columbia, Grant Rosewarne was supposed to yell a loud warning to other anglers that his unlikely fight with a giant wild King salmon had begun. When vying to join […]
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New members – Hook is a brand new lake to plate salmon fishing and restaurant experience located in Wanaka, right at the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Lakes. Hook is a place where everyone is welcomed to enjoy Wanaka’s stunning […]
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New members to the association – Veramaris is a 50:50 joint venture of DSM and Evonik for the production of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA from natural marine algae. Located in Delft, the Netherlands, Veramaris was launched in […]
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A ground-breaking King salmon research programme is underway at Cawthron Institute. The programme aims to improve the profitability and production efficiency of King salmon and involves collaboration between the salmon aquaculture industry, feed companies, universities, research institutes, and international scientists. […]
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The Minister for Primary Industries wants to hear your views on a proposal to amend the Marlborough Sounds resource management plan to enable relocation of up to six salmon farms. Relocation is being considered as a way to: ensure the […]
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New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is building further on its sustainability credentials with the launch of A+, the new standard of sustainable aquaculture.
“A+ is a world class sustainable management framework which enables the New Zealand aquaculture industry to better engage with our communities and continuously improve our environmental practices while strengthening global demand for our seafood,” commented Ted Culley, Aquaculture New Zealand’s Deputy Chair.
“It will be a comprehensive framework of environmental standards, key performance indicators, a self-reporting system and third party audits, which will give the New Zealand public and our international markets further confidence in our environmental integrity.”
Andrew Hay, oyster industry spokesperson added “as marine and freshwater farmers we’re proud of our role as guardians of this place and its people – not just for now, but for future generations. A+ gives us a set of tools to help us improve on, and tell the story of, this role.”
Janine Tulloch, Chair of the New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association commented “I think this is a great initiative as it conveys a whole lot more than just environmental management. It implies social, people, community, food safety and much more.”
Aquaculture New Zealand Chief Executive Gary Hooper, acknowledged the considerable support the industry had received from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund. “MPI have recognised the importance of this programme for reinforcing the industry’s reputation for supremely sustainable seafood. A+ helps us prove that New Zealand’s mussels, salmon and oysters are environmentally friendly, premium quality and raised in a pristine environment.”
See the A+ website for full deatils
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Local seafood lovers seeking New Zealand salmon are being urged to ask for it by name following the arrival of a foreign imported species on supermarket shelves.
New Zealand salmon farmers have launched the #LoveNZsalmon campaign to educate consumers on the differences between locally farmed King salmon, and the imported Atlantic salmon products emerging in retail and food service settings.
Like our facebook page to join the campaign
“For most Kiwis, there is only one type of salmon – and that’s the King salmon they’ve been cooking at home for decades,” said Aquaculture New Zealand CEO Gary Hooper.
“But now we are being asked to choose between locally farmed, fresh premium and sustainable King Salmon and imported Atlantic salmon products – yet it’s not always clear from labeling and packaging that they are very different species which offer different culinary properties and have different cooking and handling requirements.
“New Zealand salmon is the champagne of salmon. It’s prized for its purity, clean flavour profile, vibrant apricot flesh colour, higher oil content and pleasant silky bite that has top chefs around the world praising it as the best salmon they’ve ever eaten.”
“It’s important that consumers recognise that Atlantic salmon has different culinary properties and won’t perform the same as King salmon when cooking at home.
“Environmentally concerned consumers can also eat New Zealand salmon with a clear conscience, knowing that our industry is the only farmed salmon industry to have achieved a green light, best choice rating from the gold standard of sustainability guides, Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch”.
“The message is very simple – if you want New Zealand salmon ask for it by name to avoid disappointment.”
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Former wine executive turned Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Chief Operating Officer and AQNZ Director Janine Tulloch tells us why New Zealand farmed seafood is like a fine wine.
Q) Since moving to New Zealand from Brisbane in 1997, you’ve lived in Mt Cook, Martinborough and now in Queenstown – are you deliberately avoiding our big cities?
A) Most certainly. I actually left Brisbane in 1992 to do my OE. My (now) husband and I came back in 1994 and travelled Australia for 3 months ending up in Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays for 4 years. I do love to visit big citites but I much prefer the community spirit (and lack of traffic) in smaller regions as a place to live with my family.
Q) You’re a chartered accountant by training with no prior involvement in seafood – how did you come to work in the aquaculture industry?
A) From my CA days I got into the hospitality industry working with hotel groups in Australia and New Zealand. The move into wine came when we moved to Martinborough, just north of Wellington in the late 90’s. I’d been in the wine industry for over 12 years, most recently as GM of Martinborough Vineyard which is one of New Zealand’s iconic brands. When the opportunity with Mt Cook Alpine Salmon came up, I thought this would be an exciting step into a new industry. There are a number of similarities to the wine industry including route to market, distribution and logistics not to mention basic farming practices. Also I like that the company was focused on the ultra premium end and was supplying some of the same restaurants where before I’d supplied wine.
Q) How is New Zealand wine like New Zealand farmed seafood?
A) The story for NZ wine is all about the special combination of climate, water and soil we have in NZ, along with our innovative pioneering spirit and our commitment to quality. I believe it’s exactly the same for New Zealand seafood.
Q) How are they different?
A) The wine industry is made up of over 1000 grower and 700 winery members and while there has been consolidation of the industry over recent years, the seafood industry is much more consolidated. NZ wine has also always been brand led. It recognised early on that the only game is at the premium end and focused completely on this segment of the market. I think in the seafood industry we’re only just starting to focus on this position. The reality is to achieve acceptable margins with the infrastructure and labour costs in New Zealand we cannot compete at a commodity level. We need to differentiate brand NZ in the market.
Q) New Zealand wine has developed a desirable global reputation – what makes it so attractive to international wine drinkers and is there a similar opportunity for NZ farmed seafood?
A) In the first instance it’s a very good product. The industry has worked hard with the key influencers within the industry to share the NZ wine story and win their support. It helps that there are so many NZ expats around the world that also pushed the product early on. On this basis there is definitely a similar opportunity for NZ seafood – it’s just now about how we educate our communities.
Q) What lessons did you learn from the wine industry that you bring to aquaculture?
A) A few key things:
Management of supply to meet demand. The wine industry has gone through tough times recently when not only was there oversupply of NZ wine but also internationally there was a wine glut. This means knowing the markets and managing production in line with your customers expectations. Building demand for your products – always.
Margin – it’s all about cost and margin. It’s imperative to know your costs of production and focus on achieving an appropriate margin.
Marketing and support – knowing your customer. It’s important even when working with importers and distributors to know the markets you sell in and to get involved with your customers. You need to be a selling tool for the distributor. It’s a partnership relationship.
Sustainability – this will only continue to evolve as a business practice for us all so we have to take ownership, get on board and lead this movement.
Q) You’ve been with Mt Cook for just over three years now, while the company has undergone rapid growth – is the company on track to reach its ultimate growth targets and are these levels of production sustainable?
A) In the past four years the company has grown almost 10 fold in the number of fish held on the farm. While there are still further growth opportunities ahead of us at present we’re in a consolidation phase making sure the business all the way through is managing this growth. The reality is, even at full capacity we’ll be producing less than 3000MT of salmon so we’re always going to be a small, niche player in the market.
Q) You’ve recently been elected to the AQNZ board. What drew you to this governance role?
A) I like to get involved in the industries in which I work. In the wine industry I was a member of the executive of Wines From Martinborough, the regional marketing body. I got involved at its inception in 2004 and was Chair from 2008 to 2011. Further I was a Director of Toast Martinborough, which is indisputably the most successful wine and food event in New Zealand from 2000 to 2011 (Chair from 2007). I think an individual business’ success is always in part tied to that of their industry. Industry bodies play important parts in providing information, marketing, research and strategy. These activities need to be focused and need to be developed around the goal of building a great New Zealand aquaculture industry.
Q) What do you see as Aquaculture New Zealand’s biggest challenge over the next 12 months?
A) There is a large focus on growth as part of government and industry agendas. We need to realise how this is actually going to be achieved given the limitations that exist.
Q) How’s the future looking for New Zealand farmed salmon?
A) The global demand for protein along with increased growth in salmon as a category means the future should be a rosy one. It’s now up to the industry and the businesses in it on how to leverage opportunities for their individual growth both in volume and price. Obviously space is a huge issue for the industry.
Q) Do you think it’s important for New Zealand salmon farmers to work together?
A) Given the majority of farmed King Salmon is produced in New Zealand we have a point of differentiation from the rest of the industry that we need to exploit. To maximise this we have to do this as an industry.
Q) Mt Cook Alpine is very proactive in marketing itself as ultra-high grade salmon – how do you ensure the product lives up to the hype?
A) It’s actually all about the product and it’s quality. Hype and spin won’t compensate for a product that’s inferior for long. We have a unique situation in the canal systems where the fish have to swim constantly just to stay still, making them lean and muscular. This combined with attention to detail throughout the production chain results in a flesh that is delicate, has great texture, is creamy, minerally and low in fat.
Q)Is it really that good?
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A) Oh yeah! I’ve experienced over and over people telling me that they don’t eat salmon then go onto eat a large serving of sashimi. Once you can get a buyer or customer to taste our salmon, there is no going back.
When it comes to fresh water salmon, celebrity New Zealand chef Al Brown was a self-confessed cynic.
That was until Tsunami Sushi’s Scott Murray dropped by one day with a whole fish from Mt Cook Salmon.
“It was quite extraordinary,” Al said.
“I got a call from Scott one day saying ‘can I drop by and introduce you to this salmon’.
“I was sceptical because I’d always thought salt water salmon was better than fresh.
“But it was a bit of an honour to have him around, he’s a legend around these parts.”
Partly out of intrigue about King Salmon grown in the Mackenzie Country hydro-canals, and partly out of admiration for the caller’s skills, Al welcomed the chance to see Scott’s 30 years of sushi and sashimi experience in action.
“He brought a whole fish around and I started to cut it up and he finished it up. He’s the master and it was really cool to have him there to talk us through it,” Al said.
“The fish itself was absolutely beautiful.
“I love all fish and I’ve eaten a lot of salmon. I think the New Zealand product on the whole is really good.
“I’ve used a lot of product from New Zealand – Akaroa and New Zealand King Salmon have always impressed me.”
And the fresh water product did not disappoint.
“The flavour is really pure and clean,” he said.
“I’ve always associated the colder the water with the finer the taste.
“Which makes sense when you get an understanding of how these fish are bred in the cold, clean water with the strong current.”
The experience drove Al to Tweet.
“Best salmon I’ve ever eaten…period!” he told the world via the social networking site Twitter.
Al later said it wasn’t just the fish, but the whole experience that Scott created that wowed him.
“That was a fantastic surprise,” Al said.
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“To me, you get huge ups from people or producers that do that kind of thing.
“It’s lovely to see the whole form of the fish and then cut it down.
“It makes so much more sense when you see the product, connect with it, and hear the story, see Scott’s prowess and skills”.