When aspiring to exceptional culinary standards,
not all salmon are created equal.
ra King salmon is the best of our unique breed of King salmon, nurtured throughout their lifecycle to ensure the finest result.
ra King salmon is inspired by and created for fine dining chefs around the world.
Our classical breeding programme combines 20 years of time-honoured husbandry practices and seven generations of King salmon. This has produced over 90 distinct King salmon families, chosen so that only the finest examples are carried forward to subsequent generations.
King salmon eggs destined to produce ra King salmon
are nurtured in the crystal clear waters flowing from
the Te Waikoropupu Springs near Golden Bay. With an
average of 14,000 litres of fresh water bubbling to the
surface every second, the waters of this region have
been verified as the clearest waters in the world, an ideal
beginning to the life cycle for
ra King salmon.
Within their first year, the smolt are carefully transferred to the sheltered deep water bays of the Marlborough Sounds, to mature in fast flowing seawaters, thus emulating the true lifecycle of the wild King salmon.
The pure and isolated waters of the Marlborough
Sounds enable us to raise ra King salmon in a
natural and wholesome manner, with our seafarm
pens being 97.5% water space to 2.5% salmon.
Our salmon are raised by caring staff who are present on the farms 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We are also proudly committed to humane harvesting techniques to ensure the process is quick, effective and as stress-free as possible for the salmon. Initial size grading and rapid chilling post-harvest are the final crucial steps prior to sending the ra King salmon on the next stage of their journey.
Once the ra King salmon complete their journey to the processing
facility, each one undergoes a thorough washing, grading and
preparation process which generates a 10-day shelf life for
ra King salmon.
Master Graders, dedicated to ra King, then review each salmon against specifications for size, colour and quality. As a final step individually numbered
ra King gill tags are attached to each whole salmon, allowing traceablity back to the original broodstock for each ra King salmon. The selected ra King salmon are then sent to fulfil customer orders around the world for whole salmon, fillets and smoked products.
Our dedicated team work around the clock to ensure we meet the demands of our discerning customers worldwide. If the salmon doesn’t meet our highest level of grading, then it doesn’t go on to become an ra King salmon.
Worldwide demand for seafood is increasing and aquaculture is a highly efficient use of the marine environment.
At ra King, our focus is on the sustainable production of salmon that addresses the growing demand for marine
protein without compromising the health of the planet, our salmon or consumers.
The New Zealand Environment
New Zealand has some of the world’s strictest environmental regulations protecting our waters and the salmon we farm. ra King farms are isolated in the pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds where we are able to raise healthy, full-bodied fish.
In addition, King salmon are not native to New Zealand and there are no wild salmon in the Marlborough region in any significant number. This allows us to raise ra King salmon without any impact on wild stocks of salmon.
Our feed contains ingredients based on the nutritional requirements of wild salmon. The small component of fishmeal (only 10%) in our feed is sourced from sustainable pelagic species and is also World Wildlife Fund approved for use of marine resources in aquaculture feed. The feed carries certificates of analysis from registered laboratories, is certified GMO- and BSE-free and all ingredients are fully traceable.
We use a balanced extruded diet. Each formulation is made to best suit a particular life stage of the salmon. The main change in formulation through the life of the salmon is the ratio of oil to protein. As a salmon grows it requires less protein and more oil.
A commonly misunderstood part of a salmon’s diet is the antioxidant astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is found naturally in algae and krill and is an essential micronutrient for salmon. It is so important to the fish that they have evolved the capacity to store it in their muscle tissue, giving salmon their familiar reddish-orange colour. Salmon use it to protect their precious Omega 3 oils and ultimately it protects their eggs. Because it is such a powerful and effective antioxidant, astaxanthin is frequently used as a dietary supplement for humans.
New Zealand King Salmon has achieved the world-leading Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)
certification from The Global Aquaculture Alliance.
This independent certification supports the company’s ongoing and substantial efforts to maintain its environmental integrity
ra King is a net producer of marine protein. The marine protein in our feed comes from scientifically managed sustainable fisheries. We can produce 1.4 kilograms of fish protein for every kilogram of fish protein we use in our salmon diets—making us net producers of fish protein by a substantial amount. In the wild it takes about 5kg of whole fish to produce 1kg of salmon.
The New Zealand King Salmon Company has a traditional, classic selective breeding programme where the
broodstock (breeding fish) with the best traits (size, colour, oil content) are chosen for reproduction.
Over ninety distinct salmon families are maintained, and there are currently over 200,000 records for
individual fish stretching back to the first generation in 1997. NZKS does not genetically modify its fish.
Furthermore, prior to dispatch, an individually numbered ra King gill tag is attached to each fish to allow for authenticity of origin and full traceability for customers.
“ra King is a transparent product. Environmental stewardship, high end quality and sustainability are thankfully a norm in the new culinary landscape. ra King is proven in the respective fields. Willamette Valley, Oregon born and bred, I respect the standards and quality ra King represents. I'm humbled by the product and the consistency.“
Jason Alford, Executive Chef, Roka Akor, Chicago, United States
“When a product comes from such a pristine environment, and is treated with the utmost respect, the end result will always be fantastic. ra King salmon is that kind of product. It makes my job easier and more enjoyable“
Chef Matt Lambert, The Musket Room, New York City, United States
“Our philosophy at Hopgoods is to use high quality local ingredients. Here in
Nelson we are on the doorstep of the Marlborough Sounds and are fortunate
enough to have world class ra King salmon at our fingertips. The superb
quality of the salmon and consistency of product makes it a firm favourite
with both my chefs and our customers. ra King truly reflects our style.“
Aaron Ballantyne, Head Chef and Kevin Hopgood, Owner – Hopgoods, Nelson, New Zealand
“The most important things for my products are safety, quality,
consistency and sustainability. For me, that is ra King.
I am from Hokkaido, which is known as one of the best quality regions for seafood in Japan. Not to mention the best salmon in Japan. Sashimi, sushi, grill, fry, smoke, steam and soup. I can’t go wrong with this salmon. ra King, the best.”
Shinichi Maeda, Chef – Sake, Brisbane, Australia
“The best thing about the ra King salmon is the traceability, knowing it has
been hand selected and knowing I’m getting the best of the best. And for me
personally, I love the product.“
Matt Bouterey, Owner – The Food Source, New Zealand
TriBeCa head chef Hayden McMillan says it’s the ‘stories’ behind the produce that excite professional cooks.
“ra King is a case in point,” McMillan says. “NZ King Salmon has a wonderful story to tell and I witnessed it second hand on a trip to Marlborough. The spring water in which the salmon smolt are raised is reputedly the purest in the world.
“The special stories and great raw materials such as ra King salmon make you obliged to do special things with such world class ingredients.”
Hayden McMillan, Head Chef – TriBeCa, Auckland, New Zealand
“ra King Salmon is a world class product. The entire process – from breeding in the fresh spring
waters of Golden Bay to farming in the deep cool waters of the Marlborough Sounds and to what
arrives in your kitchen - is simply the freshest and finest.”
Nic Watt, Internationally acclaimed and celebrated chef.
“The philosophy with the food at Vinnies is to give our guests a
unique New Zealand taste experience. ra King delivers wonderful
visual and nutritional balance. It’s got a fantastic texture and flavour.
The colour is amazing, and the taste is just superb. It allows myself and my team to be as creative as we want with the ra King Salmon.”
Geoff Scott, Chef Owner - Vinnies Restaurant, Auckland, New Zealand
Makoto Tokuyama is fastidious when it comes to buying salmon for his awardwinning
“I look to the salmon’s shape, the colour of its skin and fl esh, the aroma, its oil content and texture. It is also vital the salmon matures in sea water.
“ra King Salmon covers these perfectly. It has a very good texture, it is soft but not too soft, and it just melts in your mouth which is just beautiful. The colour is very good, almost a vivid orange and the white oil content in the meat really shows up and contrasts in a very attractive way.”
Makoto Tokuyama, Head Chef and Owner – Cocoro, Auckland, New Zealand
“Marlborough Sounds the perfect place to raise those wonderful ra King
salmon, with so much care and attention to detail this salmon is by far the
best from New Zealand. The influence of the crystal clear water and pristine
surrounding give a unique flavor and texture. You can taste the richness and
delicate flesh with most of all the cooking process. I feel privilege to use this
unique salmon with a unique colour and rich in natural oil. “
Jean-Michel Poulot, Head Chef – Edesia, Christchurch, New Zealand
The King salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)
species makes up less than 0.5% of the global
salmon population, yet is regarded by many as
the pinnacle salmon species internationally.
We take great pride in producing wonderful handcrafted products which are available to you as whole, fillets or smoked year round.
ra King Fresh Whole Salmon was recently awarded 2 Stars at the International Taste & Quality Institute (iTQi) Superior Taste Awards in Brussels. Our salmon rated particularly highly for first impression, visual appearance, and texture.
King salmon boast bright silver skin. They have a rounder mid-section in comparison to the longer, thinner body of the common Atlantic salmon species, resulting in a generous fillet.
King salmon have a bright, vibrant orange flesh colour, which contrasts attractively with the marbled fat lines for unsurpassed plate appeal.
Taste and Texture
With an elegant balance of umami flavours and a soft and buttery texture, King salmon have a complex, yet delicate mouth feel that coats the palate appealingly, making it a pleasure to eat.
The oil content in King salmon is one of the highest amongst all salmon species, not only delivering a wonderful mouth feel, but also delivering very desirable culinary and health qualities.
King salmon has the highest natural oil content of all salmon breeds - a rich source of natural, healthy long chain omega-3s.
Omega-3 oils are important for the development of the brain and eyes, for heart health, as well as managing good health. The high oil content also greatly reduces the risk of over-cooking, as this oil content keeps the salmon moist.
*Farmed salmon generally has a higher oil content than wild salmon.
Independent testing carried out by Eurofins Nutrition Analysis Center, USA, September & October 2012
Bred in the stunning Marlborough Sounds and hand selected as the best of our breed, ra King salmon is harvested 52 weeks of the year. As well as delivering superb dining experiences to gourmet connoissiseurs around the world including Australia, China, Europe, Japan and North America, ra King also appears on the menus of top NZ restaurants.