Large-scale commercial kingfish farming could soon be a reality in Northland with a trial now producing tasty results.
The fish is being served in some of our best restaurants and one chef says it's a game-changer.
It might look like the deep blue, but this is a tank in a warehouse in Northland. Although the kingfish are small, they could soon turn into big money.
New Zealand's first on-land kingfish farm is proving to be quite the catch.
"We can grow them from egg to three-and-a-half kilos in a year," said NIWA aquaculture scientist Alvin Setiawan.
The farm near Whangarei is selling just 300 kilograms of kingfish a year. But thanks in part to the Provincial Growth Fund, work will begin on a bigger farm next week.
If all goes to plan, they'll sell 10,000 times that in five years, 3000 tonnes annually.
"The demand is far outstripping supply so there's a good future for it," said Setiawan.
The country's farmed fish industry's worth about half a billion dollars a year.
The Government wants that to grow to $3b by 2035, creating jobs and ensuring our fish appeals to the rest of the world.
"It is something that New Zealand can take up and become another species that we are known all over the world," said Setiawan.
Restaurants in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown are already serving the kingfish.
Customers and chefs have been blown away by the quality.
"I personally consider the farmed kingfish to have superior texture and a cleaner flavour than wild kingfish," said Xoong chef Cameron Knox.
But above all else, it's friendly on the environment.
"The farming conditions are incredibly clean and hygienic as well as opposed to a lot of farms where they destroy the beds of the ocean," said Knox.
Sustainability's never tasted so good.