Is There Wild Salmon in New Zealand?

Salmon is a prized seafood known for its delicious taste and numerous health benefits. Wild salmon, in particular, is highly sought after due to its rich flavor and high nutrient content.

New Zealand is renowned for its pristine waters and abundant marine life, but is there wild salmon in New Zealand? Let’s find out.

What is Wild Salmon?

Wild salmon are fish that are born and raised in the wild without any human intervention. These fish spend their lives swimming freely in the open ocean, feeding on natural food sources such as plankton, krill, and small fish. Wild salmon are known for their vibrant color, firm texture, and distinct flavor.

Types of Salmon Found in New Zealand

New Zealand has a thriving seafood industry with a wide variety of fish species found in its waters. However, when it comes to salmon, there are some nuances to consider.

King Salmon (Chinook)

King salmon or Chinook salmon are not native to New Zealand but were introduced to the country in the early 1900s. These fish are farmed commercially and have become a staple of the local seafood industry. King salmon can be found in many restaurants and markets across New Zealand.

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon is another species that is not native to New Zealand but has been introduced through aquaculture. These fish are also farmed commercially and can be found in some specialty stores.

Steelhead Trout

Steelhead trout is a type of sea-run rainbow trout that can be found in certain rivers and streams across New Zealand. While not technically a type of wild salmon, steelhead trout shares many similarities with its cousins when it comes to taste and texture.

Is There Wild Salmon in New Zealand?

Unfortunately, there are no native populations of wild salmon in New Zealand. The country’s isolation from other landmasses and its unique ocean currents have made it difficult for salmon to establish themselves in the wild. However, there have been some attempts to introduce wild salmon to New Zealand, but these efforts have not been successful.


In summary, while New Zealand may not have any native populations of wild salmon, there are still plenty of delicious seafood options to choose from. Whether you prefer farmed king salmon or other locally sourced fish, there’s no shortage of fresh and tasty seafood in New Zealand.

Photo of author

Michael Allen