New Zealand King Salmon's open ocean aquaculture project gets Government final approval

According to the company, Blue Endeavour could generate NZD 300 million in new revenue per annum.
 Blue Endeavour open farm could generate NZD 300 million in new revenue per annum.

Blue Endeavour open farm could generate NZD 300 million in new revenue per annum.

New Zealand King Salmon

New Zealand King Salmon has received final Government approval to continue with its Blue Endeavour project, the first open-ocean salmon farm in New Zealand.

Regarding this, Carl Carrington, NZKS Chief Executive Officer, said: "From here, we will complete our 18-month programme of rigorous benthic (seabed), seabird and marine mammal monitoring. This will provide a baseline of information, against which we can measure the impacts of a working salmon farm."

Then, he explained: "The next step will be a 'proof-of-concept' phase, putting in the trial pens from June 2025. This is when it starts to get exciting from a farming point of view – building a smaller-scale pilot farm so that we can trial new infrastructure while monitoring the welfare of our salmon, to ensure they can thrive."

On the other hand, Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Shane Jones mentioned how important this project is for New Zealand’s aquaculture: "Blue Endeavour will be the first open ocean aquaculture salmon farm in New Zealand. It’s going to provide more jobs for the Marlborough region and benefit our economy by providing sustainable kaimoana to the world."

A long and difficult process

"While this is a huge step that will contribute to the government’s goal to grow aquaculture to a multibillion-dollar industry, it’s taken far too long to get to this point," Mr Jones alerted.

"There are currently too many hurdles causing delays for aquaculture projects, and these delays hurt our economy and the communities that rely on aquaculture," he added.

In 2019, the company submitted its application for resource consent to the Marlborough District Council. After an Environment Court decision, consent was granted in September 2023.

Consequently, the proposal for its impact on fishing in the region was approved on 16 January 2024 by the Ministry for Primary Industries. Finally, we get to this point after a 30-day judicial period, which ended on 28 February 2024.

Finally, the Minister confirmed: "The coalition government is committed to removing unnecessary barriers to make approval processes for projects such as this quicker and easier and, in doing so, a lot cheaper."

The future of salmon farming in New Zealand

According to New Zealand King Salmon, Blue Endeavour could generate NZD 300 million in new revenue per annum. Therefore, regional economies will benefit from related activities such as boat servicing, and skilled jobs in farming, engineering, processing, and more.

Grant Lovell, NZKS General Manager of Aquaculture, described how this project can change the future of salmon farming in New Zealand: "It is a bit of a new frontier for our aquaculture industry – but one that we are entering one step at a time, backed by science and evidence-based decision-making."

With the help of the Cawthron Institute, SLR Consulting and Robertson Environmental, several comprehensive assessments of the environmental effects and applied independent science have been supervised.

"We will be trialling technologies and investing in mooring grid infrastructure to ensure we can adapt to the Cook Strait conditions," Grant indicated.

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