7 Oct 2013

Consumer NZ, King Salmon at odds over fish food

11:39 pm on 7 October 2013

New Zealand King Salmon says not feeding its salmon wild fish is the only way to ensure a sustainable future for the industry.

The firm has spoken out after the publication of a Consumer New Zealand investigation, which claims a major part of the farmed fish diet in New Zealand comes from vegetable and abattoir by-products, rather than from marine sources.

The Marlborough-based company says feeding its salmon nothing but wild fish will not lead to a sustainable future for the industry.

Chief executive officer Grant Rosewarne says the company is trying to preserve the marine environment.

"If we fed the salmon wild fish, the acquaculture and the world would be no further ahead relieving the world's oceans of the fishing demand.

"If we can supplement that with vegetable protein and oils and land- based animal protein, we can produce a top-class marine protein without having the demand on the marine environment."

Aquaculture New Zealand chief executive Gary Hooper says there is a lot of misunderstanding about salmon farming.

"Salmon farming is a sustainable practice. It is good use of New Zealand's resources; something we're revered for all around the world so it's something we should be very proud of."

Omega 3 queried

Consumer New Zealand also found the Omega 3 levels from five different smoked salmon brands bore little resemblance to the advertised quantities.

Chief executive Sue Chetwin says King Salmon is one of those guilty of overstating its Omega 3 levels.

Aoraki Smokehouse and Countdown's Signature Range were among the brands tested and both have been withdrawn for repackaging.

King Salmon's two brands, Regal and Southern Ocean, also tested lower levels than the packaging stated.

Ms Chetwin says King Salmon told her the levels on the packaging were based on historic test data and it is currently retesting.

Mr Rosewarne told Radio New Zealand there are a variety of reasons why the levels fluctuate.

"Depending on where the slice of smoked salmon came from, so the shoulder of the salmon will have higher oil content than the tail; whether the sample comes from spring production versus winter production, that has an impact; also the size of the salmon."