King Salmon to offer farm tours
The Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry hearing has shown New Zealand King Salmon the need to allow the community and tourists to see their operations, says chief executive Grant Rosewarne.
After 30 years in business in Marlborough, the company is joining forces with Marlborough Travel to provide salmon farm tours at its Ruakaka salmon farm in the Queen Charlotte Sound.
"The board of inquiry has made us realise we have to do a much better job of engaging with the local community," said Mr Rosewarne.
"A lot of people don't know what is going on and we are really keen to demystify what we do."
By educating the community, he hopes people will be more understanding and supportive of salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
The company, which provides 55 per cent of the world's supply of king salmon, faced rigorous opposition when it applied to expand its salmon farming production in the Marlborough Sounds.
Tensions were raised in Marlborough during the eight-week inquiry, when 1293 submissions were presented to the board.
The board of inquiry is expected to release a draft decision before Christmas, but its final report date has been extended and is not due until February 22.
Marlborough Travel director Chris Godsiff said he has been eager to provide salmon farm tours for about 15 years, after the success of his Greenshell Mussel cruises from Havelock.
However, New Zealand King Salmon had previously been reluctant to pursue a tourism venture, preferring to stick to farming salmon, Mr Rosewarne said.
It was not a money-making venture for the company, but would be an educational experience for people with an interest in the region's industries and King Salmon products.
SALMON FARM ON TOURISTS MENU
A Marlborough tourism company is teaming up with New Zealand King Salmon to provide an interactive salmon farm experience for tourists.
Marlborough Travel owner Chris Godsiff has had an association with the salmon company for 30 years, providing staff transport and boats for harvesting.
The tour provided the opportunity to showcase Marlborough's fine wine, salmon and oyster products, he said.
"This tour is going to be focused on our high-quality wine and food, that's what people come to Marlborough looking for."
Blenheim-based Marlborough Travel has a fleet of buses, luxury vehicles and boats providing transport, luxury wine tours, private lunch and dinner cruises and a daily Greenshell Mussel cruise from Havelock.
The new three-hour trip is named Seafood Odyssea and will depart from the Picton Marina daily at 1.30pm with a minimum of two guests, after the New Year.
The tour begins with a 50-minute boat cruise to the Ruakaka Salmon Farm in the Queen Charlotte sound, with commentary from the skipper.
The boat will tie up at a purpose-built platform at the farm and passengers will have the opportunity to go aboard and observe life on the farm, take photos and hand-feed the fish.
Salmon and Tio Point Oysters which are also grown in the Marlborough Sounds, will be available to try, matched with Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
Depending on the weather they will check out the Tio Point oyster farm in the Tory Channel.
New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said the new venture enabled them to give people a first-hand experience about how their food was bred and harvested.
"We believe food tourism is an untapped resource for Marlborough," he said.
For the first time in their 20 years of being tourist operators, Marlborough Travel are opening a shop and booking office in Marine Parade, Picton. It is a joint venture with New Zealand King Salmon, providing information about the region, salmon farming and Marlborough Travel trips.
Last night, the company launched the new tour with a group of Marlborough business people and tour operators.
The Marlborough Express