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New Zealand King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne: 'We have exciting plans for new retail launches'

Branding, sustainability and climate change top the list of importance for New Zealand's largest producer.

New product development has long been high on the agenda for New Zealand's biggest salmon farmer. This will continue in 2019, but a push towards open ocean aquaculture and other production innovations are also an area of the focus, CEO Grant Rosewarne tells IntraFish, with sustainable future development front of mind.

What were the three most significant developments for your seafood business in 2018?

  • The launch of Ōra King TYEE, a ground breaking aquaculture innovation, which is our new ultra-premium brand for foodservice. On average, TYEE are as valuable as Bluefin Tuna and this Christmas we’re offering a seasonal Ocean Run TYEE for our customers.
  • Our first steps into open ocean farming research & development. We weathered an extraordinarily hot summer in the Sounds with strong financial results, but this research and development in open ocean conditions is going to be vital for future sustainable growth.
  • Formalizing our sustainability commitment with the focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) (particularly Life Under Water) and our participation in the UN Global Compact and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment.

What changes and developments do you expect your business to undergo next year?

We hope to finalize the farm relocation plans currently being considered by the Minister of Aquaculture to relocate a number of our seafarms on low flow sites into higher flow waters.

A positive farm relocation decision will mean that we can invest in capacity growth for our facilities, including our factories.

Concurrently, we’ll have the first research findings from open ocean and will be developing NZ specific prototypes for submersible salmon farming.

As part of our GSI membership, we’re focusing on securing ASC certification for our farming practices, and we will continue to drive quality results within our Aquaculture results, whilst managing proactively for high summer temps.

We’ll also dive deeper into our broader sustainability reporting for transparency including a digital site to show our sustainability track record.

We have exciting plans for retail NPD launches in NZ and internationally, while we work on expanding our Regal smoked salmon range in overseas markets.

Our Ōra King TYEE program will continue to expand to meet demand, and we’ll also be working on other aquaculture innovation.

Looking ahead, what will be the three most important seafood industry developments in 2019?

  • Addressing climate change as an industry, and beyond. Systems need to change, rather than individual companies, to make a real impact.
  • Greater recognition of aquaculture in the overall plans to ensure sustainability in seafood for future generations, including a stronger incorporation of aquaculture in the UN SDG 14 – Life Below Water.
  • Greater branding to lift the industry value as a whole away from commodity driven production.
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