Chinook Salmon

Chinook Salmon: Quick Facts 

Latin name: Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

Other names: King salmon, quinnat salmon, spring salmon (USA), Pacific salmon, Saumon Chinook (France), Salmón real (Spanish and Portuguese), Masunosuke (Japan), Königslachs (Germany)

Ranking: Good to bad to eat region dependent - C to E

Best Fish Guide: Farmed Chinook Salmon

Best option: Salmon grown in freshwater in the Mackenzie Basin (Canterbury region) is the best choice. Salmon grown in

Worst option: Salmon grown in Northern South Island and Southern South Island regions.

Description:  Salmon are first produced in hatcheries on land and then either farmed in sea cages (Marlborough Sounds, Banks Peninsula (Akaroa) and Stewart Island (Big Glory Bay)) or in freshwater cages in the MacKenzie Basin in canals that are part of the Upper Waitaki power project.  There are hatcheries in Otago (Kaitangata), Waitaki, mid-Canterbury (Tentburn), Kaiapoi (Silvertream), Kaituna (Marlborough), and Golden Bay (Waikoropupu Springs, near Takaka). Refer to regional map

 Ecological concerns:  The use of wild fish meal and fish oil to feed to salmon and the associated ecological effects in those fisheries eg Peruvian anchovies.  The discharge of fishmeal combined with fish faeces effect on water quality and benthos.  The die-off of large numbers of fish from some cages in the Marlborough Sounds. Establishing cages in areas of significant natural value and the deaths of marine mammals associated with the cages.

Economic value: Salmon aquaculture produced a total of approximately 14,037 tonnes in 2011, with exports falling by 1,854 tonnes to 5,166 tonnes.  The combined domestic and export value of salmon was $128.4m (2011) with exports making up about 50 % of value.  In 2011 exports earnings decreased by $22.4m to $63.4m.  About 64% of production is from Marlborough Sounds and about 32% from Stewart Island. The remaining 4% comes from Canterbury farms both marine and freshwater.  New Zealand produces about 70% of the global farmed Chinook salmon and makes up about 1% of world salmon production.

ASSESSMENT OUTPUT

Status and Sustainability of fish feed  (Score:  E – for all regions)

Distribution of fish feed: The majority of fish feed and fish oil (about 80%) used comes from Peruvian anchovies.  This source supplies over 85% of the feed used by the industry (Wybourne 2012).

Sustainability of fishery:  Peruvian and Chilean anchovies have high resilience and low vulnerability (FishBase, 2012).  Peruvian anchovies come from a fishery the catch limit is 60% above suggested levels, there is also problems with transparency of assessments, target reference points and research (Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, 2012). Most marine farmers use 15% of fish meal in fish pellets (MFish Aquaculture – 2011).

Fish Risk parameter:  High resilience and low vulnerability for Chilean anchovies.

Ecological impact of fishery:  An ecosystem based assessment is needed.

Feed Conversion ratio:  Current ratio is greater than 2 for fish component eg of around 0.8 of fishmeal and 2.7 of fish oil.  This means that 2.7 tonnes of anchovy is needed to produce a tonne of salmon (Wybourne, 2012). 

Effect on Landscape, Amenity, Ecologically Sensitive Areas and Natural Character:

 Northern South Island:  (Score C)

Farms siting:  Siting of some farms in areas of outstanding landscape and ecologically significant areas in Marlborough Sounds. 

Buildings and surface equipment:  Marine based farms have buildings up to two stories high associated with salmon cages, in Marlborough Sounds.  

Harvesting and servicing:  Effects of harvesting and servicing of farms on amenity values and natural character for marine based farms.

Central South Island - Marine: (Score C)

Farms siting:  Siting of farms in areas of high natural and physical value in Akaroa.

Buildings and surface equipment:  Marine based farm buildings are not present in.

Harvesting and servicing:  Effects of harvesting and servicing of farms on amenity values and natural character for marine based farms.

Central South Island – Freshwater: (Score B)

Farms siting:  Siting of farms in modified hydro water races.

Buildings and surface equipment:  Farm buildings are not associated with cages.

Harvesting and servicing:  Harvesting and servicing of farms in modified hydro water races.

Southern South Island: (Score C)

Farms siting:  Siting of farms in areas of significant conservation value in Stewart Island. 

Buildings and surface equipment:  Marine based farms have buildings up to two stories high associated with salmon cages.  

Harvesting and servicing:  Effects of harvesting and servicing of farms on amenity values and natural character for marine based farms.

Biosecurity Issues:  

Northern South Island:  (Score D)

Biosecurity threats:  Cage farms in Marlborough Sounds have suffered from die off of significant number of fish – the cause is currently of unknown vector.

Disease events:  The cause of the high salmon deaths in Pelorus Sound farms has not been determined.

Spread of alien species:  While Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species there appear to be no additional risk of spead of other alien species and is only grown where the oyster has become naturalised.

Central South Island - Marine: (Score B)

Biosecurity threats:  Cage farms in Canterbury are small and have not suffered from die off of significant numbers of fish (>5%).

Disease events:  No reported disease or other biosecurity events.

Spread of alien species:  While Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species there appear to be no additional risk of spead of other alien species and is only grown where the oyster has become naturalised.

Central South Island - Freshwater:  (Score B)

Biosecurity threats:  Freshwater cage farms in Canterbury are relatively small and have not suffered from die off of significant numbers of fish (>5%).

Disease events:  No reported disease or other biosecurity events.

Spread of alien species:  While Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species there appear to be no additional risk of spead of other alien species and is only grown where the oyster has become naturalised.

Southern South Island (Score D)

Biosecurity threats:  Cage farms in both Stewart Island have suffered from die off of significant number of fish. E.g. with up to 200 tonnes of salmon.

Disease events:  Build up of jellyfish was involved in the death of up to 200 tonnes of salmon in Stewart Island.

Spread of alien species:  While Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species there appear to be no additional risk of spead of other alien species and is only grown where the oyster has become naturalised.

Effect of farm waste on water quality and benthic impacts:  

Northern South Island (Score C)

Feed used:  Extruded fish feed pellets containing fish meal, poultry meal, mammalian blood meal, fish oil and poultry oil, and a range of plant material eg faba bean, wheat, soya bean and lupin.

Is rotational management used:  Rotational management is needed in some sites especially in the Marlborough Sounds.

Benthic impacts:  Effect of the build up of uneaten feed material and fish faeces under and around farms with some sites it is estimated to take 10 years to recover after a farm was removed.

Central South Island - Marine (Score B)

Feed used:  Extruded fish feed pellets containing fish meal, poultry meal, mammalian blood meal, fish oil and poultry oil, and a range of plant material eg faba bean, wheat, soya bean and lupin.

Is rotational management used:  Rotational management is not needed.

Benthic impacts:  Effect of the build up of uneaten feed material and fish faeces under and around farms with evidence elsewhere that some sites may take 10 years to recover after a farm was removed.

Central South Island - Freshwater: (Score - A)

Feed used:  Extruded fish feed pellets containing fish meal, poultry meal, mammalian blood meal, fish oil and poultry oil, and a range of plant material eg faba bean, wheat, soya bean and lupin.

Is rotational management used:  Rotational management is not needed.

Benthic impacts:  In freshwater farms there is not a build-up of uneaten feed material and fish faeces under and around farms.

 Southern South Island (Score C)

Feed used:  Extruded fish feed pellets containing fish meal, poultry meal, mammalian blood meal, fish oil and poultry oil, and a range of plant material eg faba bean, wheat, soya bean and lupin.

Is rotational management used:  Rotational management is needed and is available in Southland.

Benthic impacts:  Effect of the build up of uneaten feed material and fish faeces under and around farms with some sites it is estimated to take 10 years to recover after a farm was removed.

Effect on Genetic Diversity - sourcing of spat and larvae for ongrowing: (Score: A for all regions)

Reliance on wild spat or larvae:  Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species so this is not a concern.

Impact on wild genetic diversity:  Chinook salmon is an alien naturalised species so this is not a concern.  

Effect on Protected, threatened or endangered species 

Northern South Island, Central South Island - Marine and Southern South Island (Score C)

Entanglement:  Dolphins have been entangled in salmon farm nets in the Marlborough Sounds including dusky dolphins, bottlenose dolphin and Hector’s dolphin.

Ecological effects:  As salmon farms are smaller than mussel farms the potential to exclude important habitat is lower.

Central South Island - Freshwater (Score A)

Entanglement:  No reported entanglement issue.

Ecological effects:  No reported ecological effects

Effect of Management (Score: C – all regions)

Quota Management Species: Wild caught salmon are not a quota management species.

Aquaculture zones:  Zones established in Marlborough and Southland but farms can now be established outside these areas.  Not an issue with land-based farms.

Biosecurity plans:  Codes of practice and surveillance.  Escapes from farms may be an issue for freshwater farms. Uncertainties associated with unusual die-offs as well as spread of pest fouled species. 

Compliance issues:  Some compliance issues with the positioning of older marine farms with resource consents or marine farming permits.

Research:  Uncertainties of disease die-offs events in Marlborough and Stewart Island.  Long-term sustainability of feed sources.  Effects of global warming affecting Northern South Island farms and the spread of pest species and diseases.  Sustainability of marine farming sites with building up of material under cages.

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