A fish caught in Antarctic waters and sold in the United States as Chilean seabass is helping transform fishing company Sanford into a producer of high value seafood, but its CEO wants to change the narrative.

Volker Kuntzsch says “New Zealand“ is a great brand, but the fishing industry hasn’t taken full advantage of it yet.

“We catch this fantastic species down in Antarctica called toothfish and it’s highly valued in the United States and China – but somewhere on the journey it changes from being a New Zealand fish to a Chilean one. We have a great story to tell, we just need to be better at telling it.”

Kuntzch has been moving Sanford from selling “commodity” fish into high value products, like Patagonian toothfish, scampi and King Salmon. His focus is on selling fresh or chilled fish to the food service industry and developing premium brands like Big Glory Bay.

The company sells its high-quality King Salmon, Greenshell Mussels and farmed Bluff oysters produced from the waters of Stewart Island under this brand.

The strategy helped the company increase its half yearly profit to $19 million – a 25 per cent increase on the same period last year. The result would have been even better but for some teething problems with a new boat and poor weather.

* In a video interview with Newsroom’s Mark Jennings, Volker Kuntzsch talks about Sanford’s latest result and its future prospects. Watch it in the player at the top of the page.

Mark Jennings is co-editor of Newsroom.

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