Environment & Sustainability
In New Zealand, our focused farming practices, strict biosecurity procedures and absence of any native salmon species mean that our Chinook salmon are raised without the need for any vaccines, growth promoters or antibiotics. Yes, we are 100% vaccine, growth hormone and antibiotic free! Farm site selection is critical, and we are fortunate to be placed in an area with a plentiful supply of fresh, highly oxygenated water.
The farms’ water originates from the untouched and pristine Southern Alps - this pure water is high in dissolved oxygen and is the perfect temperature for salmon to thrive and grow. The colder water that runs through our farm means our salmon grow slower than their salt-water cousins. This lower temperature coupled with the fast-flowing nature of the canals means our salmon must constantly exercise, producing a leaner and cleaner tasting salmon. A combination of pure waters, strict biosecurity procedures, low stocking densities and an absence of any native salmon species in NZ means that our Chinook Salmon are raised as naturally as possible.
The Global Trust Certification Ltd has rated the NZ salmon industry as first class with one of the most robust environmental regulatory frameworks in the world. “The New Zealand salmon industry achieves a first class rating amongst global producers. Born out of inherent resource based attributes displayed by the natural marine environment in combination with a highly dedicated, quality focused sector, New Zealand salmon is synonymous with the words healthy, pure and natural. Farms are compliant to one of the most robust regulatory frameworks in the world, developed through partnership and choice”.
The Wairepo Arm is home to an abundance of birdlife, including the Australasian Crested Grebe and native scaups. We have built nesting platforms around the farm for the grebes as this species doesn't spend any time on land. Since their installation, the platforms have been home to three generations of grebe chicks.
The glacial waters of the Mackenzie hydro canals produce some of the world’s best tasting salmon. The inherent purity of the water ensures our salmon are reared in an optimum environment for premium growth. We understand that that the future of our industry depends on the quality of our water and we strive to protect it. We don’t see sustainability as an added extra - it is core to our business.
New Zealand’s salmon farming industry has been recognised as the world’s greenest by the Global Aquaculture Performance Index. It has also been internationally recognised by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s globally respected consumer guide Seafood Watch which has rated New Zealand’s farmed salmon as “Green”, meaning it is a “Best Choice” for consumers. King salmon from New Zealand is the first and only ocean-farmed salmon to have achieved the Green/Best Choice rating from Seafood Watch. New Zealand Forest & Bird’s “Best Fish Guide” has endorsed freshwater salmon farming in the Mackenzie District hydro canals specifically as the most sustainable form of salmon farming and is the only farmed finfish regarded as a “Green light – Good Choice”.
At High Country Salmon we adhere to the New Zealand A+ Aquaculture Standards, which means we operate under the best New Zealand salmon farming practises throughout our growing and harvesting process. This is to minimise our impact on the environment and maintain the best animal welfare possible. We really do care about our salmon! We farm our salmon at densities no higher than 15kg/m3 which means there is no more than 15kg of salmon swimming in one meter cubed of water. That is 98.5% water and 1.5% fish.
Our water quality and the benthic environment under our farm are very important to us and we do everything we can to protect them. The water quality is monitored monthly and has never dropped below recommended levels. The benthic environment underneath the farm is surveyed every year by a team of NIWA divers, and apart from an increase in plant life around the farm there has been no change directly beneath us. The cobble stones that the canal is lined with are still as visible today as they were 40 years ago when they were first put in!
We have a zero-waste farming and processing policy here at High Country Salmon - we try to sell everything we can from the salmon, but what we can’t use we send to be made into pet-food. All other salmon waste is turned into fertiliser for local farmers to use.
We are transitioning from polystyrene packaging to a more eco-friendly option - cardboard boxes and wool liners. Many of our South Island customers have been receiving their glacial mountain salmon in the new packaging already. We are now working with our suppliers to produce a sturdier box and thicker liner for our North Island deliveries. It is a constant balance between eco-packaging, product quality and food safety.
There are a number of Mitre 10 stores in Christchurch and Auckland that have polystyrene recycling depots where you can take your unwanted polystyrene to be turned into EXPOL products. We think this is a great initiative and hopefully this will be rolled out to other Mitre 10 stores nationwide.
If you would like to recycle the ice packs, just thaw them out and empty the gel out (place on a non-porous surface outside and it will evaporate). You can then take the soft plastic (including your household soft plastics) to any of the recycling places here.
At the recent Business Excellence Awards, we won the Environment Canterbury Sustainability and Environmental award. This recognition is validation that we are doing our best to protect the incredible environment we are priviledged to work in. Check out our Awards video here!