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New Zealand’s first sustainable land-based fish farm gets $6.7M funding

October 13, 2022  By  Nestor Arellano

The New Zealand government announced that it is committing $6.7 million to a prototype of what will be country’s first sustainable land-based salmon farm.

The country’s Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) will provide the funding over a period of six years to the project that was launched this week by the Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon, The company aims to build an aquaculture facility in the Twizel town, in the Canterbury Region of the South Island of New Zealand.

The $16. 7 million project involved building a sustainable 1000 metric ton hybrid structure that will use a part flow-through system to emulate the unique conditions of the glacial-fed canals. The facility will be designed to optimise energy use through gravity-fed water and integrating renewable and low-energy solutions.


“This differs from the recirculated water systems used by most overseas land-based farms,” said David Cole, chief executive officer of Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon. “The design will capture waste, control the flows better to suit the fish, and provide a stable, ideal growing environment. Being land-based, it has the opportunity to deliver greater automation and monitoring systems in an all-weather working environment.”

He said that nutrients from the salmon operation will be collected to support an aquaponics crop. A wetland area will be used to further purify the water discharged from the facility.

Steve Penno, MPI’s director of investment programs, said  project aligns with the government’s aquaculture strategy, which outlines a sustainable growth pathway to an additional $3 billion in annual revenue.

Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is the leading producer of freshwater King Salmon in New Zealand. The company also exports over 60 percent of its production to markets around the world.

The company operates five salmon farms in the unique glacier-fed hydro-canals that run through the MacKenzie and Waitaki districts. It owns two hatcheries (and has shares in a third), a large primary processing plant in Timaru and a secondary processing plant in Christchurch where it produces its popular Aoraki smoked product range.

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