In defense of farmed salmon
In a recent article published on Newsroom, it was suggested that farmed salmon might not be the answer to reducing the pressure on wild fish stocks in our ocean. The New Zealand King Salmon is part of an industry that thinks differently.
No one will be surprised that as a salmon farming company we say that. No one will deny that we want the best for a company that has the ambition to expand internationally, that employs over 500 people in the Haut du Sud and offers income opportunities to a wide range of partners throughout. of the supply chain.
We are also very proud of the low impact, highly nutritious King Salmon we grow and the positive impact our salmon products have on diets and lifestyles around the world, whether human or animal. of company.
As for other industries, salmon farming in New Zealand is relatively young but has still been around for over 35 years. The country produces 75 percent of the world’s king salmon. This is minimal globally, accounting for less than 1 percent of the world’s salmon supply.
In our submission to the Climate Commission’s draft report to government, we stated that the aquaculture sector can and must play a central role in reducing New Zealand’s emissions. To this end, we believe New Zealand is capable of developing a world-leading aquaculture industry which is the greenest primary industry in the country. Agriculture in the high seas, where farms are positioned in deeper and less sheltered waters and where the currents are stronger, is part of this vision for the future, providing the best conditions to produce quality proteins at greater scale with a low environmental footprint.
This view is supported by the government which launched an aquaculture strategy in 2019 with a target of $ 3 billion in annual revenue by 2035 (currently $ 650 million per year). This target was recently postponed to 2030, with deep sea fish farming identified as a key contributor.
The government also refers to aquaculture in its Fit for a better world report, “Aquaculture offers enormous potential for sustainable growth, and early action could achieve this growth sooner.” It includes “opening up opportunities for deep sea aquaculture, which will increase the value of aquaculture for iwi and coastal communities”.
Currently, three apps are operating under the consent process to cultivate on the high seas – our own Blue Endeavor app, which is located 7 km north of Cape Lambert in Cook Strait, and two off Stewart Island from Sanford. and Ngāi Tahu.
High seas aquaculture has a range of benefits, including improved biosecurity, reduced effects of seasonal temperature changes, improved fish welfare, and reduced environmental and community impacts. Done correctly, it also enjoys the support of independent scientific organizations, including the Cawthron Institute. Aquaculture scientist Kevin Heasman says from a New Zealand perspective, deep sea aquaculture has enormous potential. “We have a huge marine estate, no close neighbors, and by combining proper environmental and site planning with smart farming systems, we can sustainably realize the value of our high seas resources.”
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With over four hundred million hectares of ocean space on New Zealand’s doorstep – 15 times the size of our land area and the world’s fourth largest Marine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – operating a tiny part of the ocean could be an important future source of healthy and sustainable protein.
According to an independent report commissioned by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and prepared by EnviroStrat, “deep sea aquaculture has great potential to contribute to food security, livelihoods (both in the regions and in major centers). ) and New Zealand’s economic growth. ”
The report also states that farmed salmon “offers a very compelling environmental and human health story compared to other farming systems in New Zealand.” He claims that farmed salmon has a very low carbon footprint, low water use and low “land use” due to the input of raw materials compared to all other farming systems. “
When considering the health properties of salmon, whether farmed or wild, the nutritional benefit is evident over most other proteins. While wild salmon may have a higher level of omega-3s, there is only a limited amount of wild salmon available in the world before it becomes an unsustainable choice.
Farmed salmon is recognized by many health experts as a healthy choice because of its high protein, vitamin and mineral content and a natural source of long-chain omega 3 fatty acids considered essential. A single 100g serving will provide enough omega-3 to cover three days of your needs for women and two days for men. Health experts also say that eating salmon on a regular basis can help protect against heart disease.
We know feeding our salmon is our biggest impact, but also our biggest opportunity with exciting technological solutions emerging quickly. The amount of fishmeal and fish oil we use in animal feed has already been drastically reduced over the years – by 2020 it had fallen to 10.4% fishmeal and 6% fish oil. We predict that new marine (algae) or insect proteins will further reduce this phenomenon in the years to come.
Regardless, we are focused on sourcing our food sustainably through independently verified and certified organizations and have implemented specific sourcing requirements for certain ingredients. Our food does not contain ingredients of genetically modified / transgenic origin, antibiotics, palm oil, growth hormones or promoters, or artificial colors.
As expected, salmon farming is a highly regulated industry. Our farms, hatcheries and processing plants are regulated by the Ministry of Primary Industries and our consent conditions for marine farms are reviewed annually by the Marlborough District Council. We also participate in respected third-party certifications to demonstrate that we pursue the highest standards possible. Regular independent audits are carried out by auditors from the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
We know there is still a lot to learn and improve and we strive to do it every day. We are very aware of our surroundings and the privilege we have to be able to cultivate in the Marlborough Sounds and no member of our team takes this responsibility lightly.
“Working where I grew up means so much to me – this place means a lot to me and my family,” says Graeme Aldrige from Te Atiawa who has worked for the company for 20 years. Aldrige, who is part of the Fish Welfare team, says there have been four generations of fishermen in his family.
“I believe in kaitiakitanga and in protecting our environment by having guardianship and educating our rangatahi and tamariki, especially in the Marlborough Sounds. Them, the sounds of Marlborough, it is my tūrangawaewae, it is the identity of my family and my garden. I have an obligatory role to make sure that we take care of our environment and protect it.
“My unofficial role here at NZKS is to show how important the environment is to all of us and to work together to promote sustainability and promote well-being and health for all of us as tangata whenua.