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Fishing for a Better Salmon Farm

24 September 2012, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Community representatives, business leaders and NZ King Salmon staff have been pooling their collective brainpower in the quest to design a better fish farm.

They are taking part in a series of prototyping sessions facilitated by NZ Trade & Enterprise and designed to result in more efficient salmon farming practices. Together with a range of key stakeholders, NZ King Salmon has identified strategic goals to facilitate both business growth and community connection.

The challenge has been put to experts in fish farming and engineering, community representatives and the media who came together in Waikawa September 10 to work on the identified areas for development.

NZ King Salmon general manager of aquaculture Mark Preece says the focus has been on three key factors.

We have looked at ways to improve our standards of stress-free handling of fish, how to make farms more aesthetically appealing and how to better protect against seals and birds. Better fish farms must also meet our strategic objectives such as waste management and intelligent design-led solutions for future needs.

Its a progression of our ongoing intellectual property programme developed during 25 years of farming in Marlborough, Mr Preece says. We have always raised the bar for the industry and New Zealand King Salmon has an industry-wide reputation for developing innovative farm solutions and IP. An example is our ability to grow and process salmon year round and to a quality and size.

Plus, the independent environmental organisation, the Global Aquaculture Performance Index ranked NZ salmon farming practices number one out of 22 countries.

Mr Preece says the prototyping programme so far has resulted in a wealth of ideas and the next step would be to assign tasks to various groups for further research and development.

The groups are tasked with developing the concepts and testing them to see if they are workable and add value to the business, the environment and the community, Mr Preece says.

An example might be how we can further improve our harvesting process not just in commercial terms but also in achieving a stress-free harvest for the fish. The less the stress, the better the quality of the fillets.

Mr Preece says the prototyping sessions are ongoing and any resulting innovations will be introduced only after exhaustive modelling and testing.

Community input into the sessions is welcomed. Community members can register their interest in taking part in the next session by emailing Sue Stevens at Sue.Stevens@kingsalmon.co.nz

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