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NZ King Salmon Welcomes Australian Market Access

Media Statement for Immediate Release
King Salmon
20 July 1999

New Zealand King Salmon Welcomes Access to Australian Market

"The Australian Government decision yesterday to allow the import of uncooked salmon provides a great opportunity to increase salmon exports," Paul Steere, chief executive of New Zealand King Salmon said.

"Australia has maintained a blanket ban on the import of all uncooked salmon products. This protected their own salmon industry from competition from New Zealand and Canadian exports.

"The challenge now is to replicate the growth generated in the New Zealand salmon market in Australia. If New Zealand per capita consumption were replicated in Australia it would require supply of 9,000 metric tonnes of salmon, as against the current Australian availability of only 7,000 metric tonnes. This is an exciting challenge," he said.

"The announcement by AQIS Australia is a significant step in our efforts to secure fair and reasonable access to a large and somewhat underdeveloped market. Government and New Zealand King Salmon have pressed hard for access for ten years, and have conducted an intensive lobby over the last three.

"The Australians maintained all during this time their domestic market should be protected on the untested and unproved grounds of disease risk to their salmon farms. Nonetheless, we have had independent monitoring over recent years confirming our disease free status.

"New Zealand salmon is now recognised by Australian authorities as presenting negligible disease risk. This is outlined in its policy regarding the importation of non-viable uncanned salmonids. Product from other countries does not get this same level of recognition. This certainly puts us in a privileged position," he said.

"Even so, the AQIS decision has some qualifications - there is a requirement to show freedom from salmon diseases that have been identified as 'moderate risk'.

"Resellers in Australia have already contacted New Zealand King Salmon for supply in anticipation of this announcement. Once procedural matters, such as permits, are determined, we will commence export," Mr Steere commented.

An interesting legacy of the protected market is the fact that we can supply product to Sydney supermarkets for the same return as gained from Auckland supermarkets.

Paul Steere said the sensitivity of this decision could mean the Australian salmon farming industry could seek legal restraints and demand reconsideration. "This could mean yet more delay - but having waited for ten years - we can afford to wait a short while longer".

Ends

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