Take a tour of Northland's massive on-land kingfish farm

Thu, Feb 23

There's nothing quite like the taste of fresh fish. But as the population grows and Kiwis hunger for healthy protein increases, the demand will be hard to keep up with.

That's where one group of Northland scientists hopes to create a way of providing farmed fish that'll keep supply up and create an industry.

Ruakaka's on-land kingfish farm on the shores of Bream Bay is expanding its operation.

"There are a lot of kingfish in the ocean, but really not enough to allow everybody to eat kingfish," NIWA's Stephen Pope told Seven Sharp.

"If we want to make an industry out of this then the only option, we have is to farm them."

Machines control everything at the facility, from water quality, temperature, lighting and even the colour of algae which helps to de-stress young fish larvae.

After four weeks, the larvae are transferred into larger tanks.

"We can produce a product that we know is A-grade, and we can do it tomorrow and the next day, and we can just keep doing that," Pope said.

"Chefs love that. No longer is it just a blackboard special."

It's a big operation that supplies restaurants all over New Zealand, but things are about to get a lot bigger.

With Northland Regional Council, the aquaculture venture has built an industrial kingfish farm that'll soon fill its tanks and hopes to supply 600 tonnes of produce a year.

Seven Sharp's Lucas de Jong went to check out the massive operation in the video above.