New Zealand

Seadragon sets out to breathe fire into Kiwi fish oil

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The town of Nelson will welcome New Zealand's first omega-3 fish oil processing plant in December. Campbell Berry-Kilgour, sales director of Seadragon, who hopes the facility will fill a definite gap in the market, talks about the industry and market in New Zealand and Asia-Pacific.

A listed New Zealand company will soon process largely locally caught fish into a range of omega-3 oils. Seadragon’s facility in Nelson, New Zealand’s biggest fishing port on the northern tip of South Island, will have the capacity to produce 15 tonnes of oil a day, to reach 5,000 tonnes a year.

Marketing director Campbell Berry-Kilgour said it will be a first for New Zealand, where consumers have traditionally bought Kiwi brands, albeit ones containing fish oil from international sources.

The company’s emphasis will be on hoki, the country’s biggest white fish fishery. Hoki is best known to McDonald’s customers as the main constituent of its Fillet of Fish burgers around the world. The fish is an excellent source of omega-3 and is available in abundance, says Seadragon.

Up against Norway, another country known for the clean and green nature of its nautical nutraceuticals, New Zealand will have a fight on its hands, though Berry-Kilgour believes his country’s location far from other land masses means fewer impurities need be removed from the oil at production stage. Nevertheless, Norwegian companies have been in the market for a long time.

China, he says, will be a major focus, especially with existing free-trade agreements meaning preferential tariffs for exports. Ahead of the processing plant’s opening in December, Seadragon has already received a great deal of interest from Chinese customers.

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