New Zealand’s King Salmon to import Atlantic species for first time to meet demand

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Short supply and high demand is forcing New Zealand’s salmon industry to turn to the Atlantic seas for help.

One of New Zealand’s biggest companies has been forced to import fish from overseas waters to boost stocks and meet market shortfall.

According to Grant Rosewarne CEO of New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS) they need to produce between 20 and 30 tonnes of fish each week in order to satisfy demand. Talking to the NZ news site Stuff Rosewarne said that the company was justifying high demands because of New Zealand’s lack of farming space and higher than usual sea temperatures.

For the first time in the company’s 10 year history NZKS has started to import Atlantic salmon from Norway and Canada. Up till now, New Zealand was the world’s biggest exporter of king salmon and it was the only salmon species farmed in New Zealand, producing just over 50 per cent of global supply.

“This is the first time we’ve done this,” said Rosewarne, adding that the demand for Chinook is expected to increase by seven percent annually. Today, NZKS produces 8,000 tonnes of it annually. The company has eight facilities in Marlborough Sounds, a network of sunken river valleys in New Zealand’s south island.

Salmon imported from Norway and Canada will be sold under Southern Ocean’s brand, labeled with the country of origin. According to Rosewarne, imports of Atlantic salmon may become permanent if the company isn’t able to access more areas in New Zealand. “There’s a lot less space made available for salmon farming in New Zealand than anywhere else in the world.

“It seems there is room for every other industry but not for salmon,” he added.