13 Jun 2018

Sushi makers look to Australia as salmon shortage bites

8:56 pm on 13 June 2018

Salmon prices have leapt after summer stock losses and New Zealand's biggest supplier says it will take years to recover.

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Photo: Creative commons

An unseasonably warm summer meant supplier New Zealand King Salmon suffered significant losses of stock in its Marlborough Sounds-based farms.

The company supplies about 65 percent of the domestic salmon market, and its customers had been left wanting as demand outstripped supply, general manager of sales Graeme Tregidga said.

"Basically people are getting about half of what they're wanting to order, we're just simply in a position where we can't take any more fish out of the water."

The price of a kilogram of salmon has increased by more than $5 since the shortage began in January, reaching $40kg in some supermarkets.

It could take years for the company to recover, Mr Tregidga said.

"Due to the amount of allocated water space we just won't have and don't have the amount available to meet that rise in demand, both locally and internationally.

"It's continuing to be a challenge and a problem."

New Zealand King Salmon is the sole supplier sushi chain St Pierre's, which was forced to import from Australia.

Co-owner Costa Katsoulis said it has been on a reduced quota since January.

"We try to be local with our produce as much as we can, it is important to us, it's a good story - fresh local product. It wasn't really our preference to import but it was an option that we had to look at, or have nothing to sell."

Mr Katsoulis said their supply had almost returned to normal.


Atlantic salmon at Countdown Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Foodstuffs head of external relations Antoinette Laird said the majority of their salmon came from New Zealand, but some came from Canada.

A spokesperson for Countdown supermarket said they had Atlantic salmon available for customers but were hopeful supply would return to normal as water temperatures had cooled.

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