Clean Seas driving kingfish sales in Europe
Clean Seas, Australia’s largest commercial producer of farmed yellowtail kingfish, is doubling its European marketing efforts with its recently rebranded Spencer Gulf Hiramasa Kingfish, and introducing a new ‘Sensory Fresh’ frozen product range to complement its traditional fresh offering.
Clean Seas Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer David Head, who was hired more than two years ago to turn the company around following a disastrous period during which high mortalities nearly resulted in the company's failure, explained that all issues had been resolved and that production was back on track. in 2017, the company's turnover was NZD 35 million (USD 24.7 million, EUR 20.7 million) on production of 2,287 metric tons (MT), up 25 percent on the previous year. In 2018, the firm expects turnover of NZD 47 million (USD 33.2 million, EUR 27.8 million) on a harvest of 2,850 MT.
Head is overseeing a strategy that has seen Spencer Gulf Hiramasa Kingfish voted best fish at the Australian Food Awards for the past two years and has top chefs all over the world flying the fish in fresh, particularly for use in sushi and sashimi dishes.
“To complement our fresh hiramasa kingfish we have just introduced a new frozen range, which will make the fish accessible to a much wider range of customers including banqueting, airlines and cruise ships, as well as sushi chains who are seeking a high quality product that is more convenient to use,” Head said.
The new range has been made possible by installing the latest rapid freezing liquid nitrogen technology in the company’s processing plant, based in Adelaide.
“Our new system freezes the fish down to minus 10 degrees in 22 minutes, then takes it down further to minus 40 degrees for storage. Sensory testing has confirmed that this produces a very superior product to traditional freezing systems, and produces four to five times less water when defrosted. Chefs who have tried both whole fish and fillets, cannot believe they have been frozen,” Head said.
Clean Seas now plans to increase production to more than triple its kingfish output and to develop a range of value-added products such as smoked fish, pre-sliced sashimi cuts, ceviche, and tartars.
“These are exciting times, and interest at SEG was very encouraging,” Head said. “Our new marketing campaign is taking us into 1400 restaurants around the world, introducing our hiramasa kingfish to individual chefs, and our increased production and new products will make this fish even more widely available.”