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Backgrounder: Clay Point salmon farm


14 February 2008

NZ KING SALMON
Clay Point salmon farm

NZ King Salmon’s newly-opened Clay Point salmon farm at the entrance to the Marlborough Sounds has been developed in conjunction with local Iwi Te Atiawa Manuwhenua Ki Te Tau Ihu Trust.

Clay Point Salmon Farm Facts & figures
Total area: 19.6 ha
Farm surface area: 1.15 ha
Capacity: 2,000 tonnes fish cost $12 million
Sales yield per surface hectare: $12.67million
Staff: 33 full time jobs (28 processing; 5 farm staff)
Set up cost: $4 million (incl. $1.5m accommodation barge)
Access: By sea only

NZ King Salmon, in association with Te Atiawa, was first issued a marine farm licence for a Clay Point salmon farm in 1994.

The licence was not immediately brought to production because the company decided to focus on adding value to its product attracting market pull, rather than pushing volume growth which inevitably targets commodity markets and the risk of price pressure inherent in such markets..

More recently consumer demand for salmon has been on the increase reflecting a global trend away from processed foods towards nutrition and healthy eating. New Zealand sales by value increased by 20 per cent alone in 2007 so three years ago NZ King Salmon began discussions with Te Atiawa as to how new salmon production could be effected at the Clay Point licence.

The location
Clay Point is on the northern tip of the Marlborough Sounds, north east of French Pass. It is accessible only by sea.

It is a unique environment for growing salmon with the cool Southland current that runs up the east coat of the South Island and in to the Tory Channel keeping water temperatures cooler.

Cooler water equates to better growth rates for salmon and healthier fish. The current also washes away surplus food and waste that would otherwise settle under the farm. The water flow is 27 cm per second, nearly twice that at NZ King Salmon’s nearby Te Pangu farm.

Facilities
The Clay Point property contains the 1.16 ha farm and accommodation barge. The barge provides accommodation for up to five staff 24/7, storage provision for eight days feed, energy generation, office areas, feed disbursement, net cleaning technology, feed monitoring systems, storage for water and fuel, sanitary management, stability system tanks, diving equipment and diver transition facilities.

Other innovations at the site include:
 a state of the art mooring system that uses tension logging to monitor the mooring lines sending information to operators about any unusual strains that may be occurring;
 an automated net cleaner that works underwater doing away with the need to laboriously lift nets from the water for cleaning;
 new feeding technology capable of dispersing 180 kg of palletised fish food every minute;
 surface and underwater video cameras enabling operators to monitor feeding from a single position.

Environment
The new farm is the company’s fifth but that does not mean production will increase 20 per cent. NZ King Salmon’s strategy includes reducing stocking densities across all its farms while also increasing production.

The farm’s success is dependent on good clean water so the smaller the environmental footprint the better. NZ King Salmon uses no chemicals, vaccines or antibiotics in its production and the company’s promotional material stresses the pristine natural environment of the Marlborough Sounds.

NZ King Salmon

NZ King Salmon is New Zealand’s biggest integrated aquaculture producer and employs more than 400 skilled workers currently producing 5,800 metric tonnes of Chinook salmon annually. The company is the world’s biggest farmer and supplier of the Chinook salmon variety.

NZ King Salmon has the highest natural oil content of all salmon - a rich source of healthy Omega-3.

NZ King Salmon Facts & Figures

Staff: 415
Production: 5,800 metric tonnes increasing to 7,000 MT over two years
Turnover: $77 million
Exports: $34 million
# of Farms: Five
Markets: New Zealand 54% exports 46%; major export markets are Australia and Japan


One of the considerable health benefits of New Zealand King Salmon is its high Omega 3 content. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are vital for life and good health and can help to maintain a healthy heart while also assisting several essential chemical processes in the human body.

ENDS

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