New aquaculture GM appointed at NZ King Salmon

October 6, 2010 09:55

A graduate who began his fish farming career as a shift worker is the new general manager of aquaculture at Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon, reports with reference to NZ King Salmon.

Mark Preece (37), who has a masters degree in marine science from the University of Otago, replaces Stewart Hawthorn now the managing director of Grieg Seafoods in Canada.

As general manager of aquaculture he is responsible for the company's overall fish farming operations. They include NZ King Salmon's breeding programme and eggs management through to delivering harvested fresh salmon to the factory door.

"These are exciting times in aquaculture. While the industry is breaking all export records there are many challenges especially in the areas of sustainability and safety and career development," Mr Preece says.

"The key elements for our team are to ensure the best quality salmon are delivered to consumers at an affordable cost. So I will be ensuring we maintain and grow our excellent technological and research track record to produce not only a world class premium product but also ensure we continue to reduce what little impact current operations have on the environment."

Mr Preece says aquaculture as a career has much to offer young New Zealanders with a myriad of specialist careers available including farming, science, marketing and engineering.

"And it's an outdoors environment - you train in diving, boat handling and people management and with companies such as ours you can grow within the business. It's fantastic to see people coming to us with little knowledge of the industry and within a few years being so skilled in so many areas."

NZ King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne says Mr Preece brings superb skills to the position of aquaculture general manager.

"It's without doubt one of our most important production roles and of course the quality of our fish is integral to success, so there is a lot resting on Mark's shoulders.

"However, he has all the right credentials and he knows NZ King Salmon from the floor of the sea farm up," Mr Rosewarne says. "It is also testament to the knowledge and professionalism of our aquaculture managers that we have made an internal appointment rather than looking outside the business.

"Mark is also very committed to the Picton and Blenheim areas. Part of his vision is to engage closely with the community, supporting local environmental initiatives as well as recruiting more people from the local areas," Mr Rosewarne says.

Mr Preece joined NZ King Salmon's predecessor Southern Ocean Seafoods as a shift worker in 1994 prior to completing his degree in 1998. He was promoted to sea farm shift supervisor for NZ King Salmon in 1997 and subsequently sea farm manager later the same year.

In January 2000 Mr Preece was appointed sea farms operations manager responsible for the performance of the company's five fish farms and associated activities.

He has published two articles in respected research journals and was for seven years a member of the Te Iwi Moriori Board of Directors.

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