$6 million invested in innovative land-based Kingfish farm

Published: Mar 12, 2020

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  • Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $6 million in a land-based aquaculture system that will test whether yellowtailed kingfish can be commercially farmed in Northland. 

A recirculating land-based aquaculture system will be built and operated at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s Northland Marine Research Centre at Bream Bay. The system is a prototype to test if it is technically and economically feasible to grow 600 tonnes of yellowtailed kingfish a year to market size on land.

If proven, this system will produce high-value aquaculture products with global appeal that are produced both sustainably and efficiently. World demand for sustainable products, like kingfish, is increasing particularly for the high end sushi market around the globe. Local restaurant suppliers have also indicated a demand for kingfish if its supply and quality is consistent.

The total cost of the project is $19.8 million with NIWA contributing $7.84 million and the Northland Regional Council investing up to $6 million in buildings and infrastructure. The PGF funding is a $6 million loan.

Eighteen jobs will be created initially in Northland, with potential for expansion. If kingfish production is proven viable at 600 tonnes per annum, it would lead to a full scale 3000 tonne operation in five years, with revenue estimated at $45 million a year.

Successful expansion will allow private sector players to take up the opportunity to invest in larger reticulating aquaculture operations not only in Northland but nationwide.

Producing fish on land, rather than at sea helps mitigate the effects of climate change with efficient modern recirculating systems being able to re-use the bulk of its water and eliminate extreme sea temperatures as an issue.