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Celebrating seafood – our people, produce and place

Nelson’s festival quarter at the top of Trafalgar Street is set to host the inaugural Seafood Saturday on 25 March.

Brought to you by Seafood New Zealand, the event is a celebration of kaimoana from sea to table – the people, places and products – and the Nelson event will set the scene for Seafood Saturdays in other fishing regions.

Seafood NZ chief executive Jeremy Helson says the event places great seafood at the centre.

“Seafood Saturday celebrates all the ways we enjoy seafood in New Zealand – at our favourite restaurants, at community events, at friends’ and family parties and in our own kitchens,” Helson says. 

A seafood-inspired degustation meal (ticketed) will be prepared by chefs from Hawker House, Hopgood’s Restaurant, The Vic Public House, Burger Culture, Kiwi Kai, and the Oceano Restaurant at the Rutherford Hotel. For those not at the degustation meal, there is goodness to be had at the ‘build your own burger’ bar and free fish and chips for children.

A Sealord fish filleting demonstration will be on show, and through the afternoon the Nelson Provincial Museum will have ocean-themed activities in the Museum. And for those curious about careers, Seafood Saturday will also be a chance to meet people in different seafood industry roles, and have a chat.

“Seafood Saturday is a fun, and delicious way to celebrate everything great about seafood – from the people who harvest, process, distribute and cook it, through to the range of kaimoana that Aotearoa New Zealand has to offer,” says Helson.

The degustation meal, and recipes provided in goodie bags, are designed to inspire people to try or buy different types of kaimoana.

“We know that people love to buy fish to cook at home, favour it on restaurant menus, and enjoy seafood as the star of meals at special events,” says Helson.

“We’re so lucky in New Zealand with the selection of sustainably-produced seafood available to us. Our seas are abundant in fish species, so we can look beyond snapper to varieties like butterfish, which tastes very similar to blue cod.”

The purpose of Seafood Saturday is also to highlight the importance of fishing and seafood production to the ‘blue economy’.

“Bringing Seafood Saturday to Nelson demonstrates the importance of the blue economy to Nelson and the Top of the South – where economic value is created from sustainable marine activities such as aquaculture and fishing,” says Helson.

Fiona Wilson, CEO of Nelson Regional Development Agency, welcomes a new event that showcases the region’s fresh seafood produce.

“We are excited to see Nelson host this inaugural seafood celebration. The ocean economy is one of our three key production and processing industries, alongside forestry and horticulture,” says Wilson.

“Nelson is home to Australasia’s largest seafood processing port. Te Tauihu is also the region with New Zealand’s highest share of employment dedicated to food production from the ocean, with around 2,600 jobs in fishing, aquaculture and processing, about five per cent of all employment across the region – let alone the many people who work in industries that support the sector.”

“Locals and visitors alike love the availability of delicious and healthy seafood from our region, and the nearby Marlborough Sounds and West Coast. We’re spoiled for choice really with fresh mussels, fresh fish, salmon and the artisan products made with seafood too.”

Sealord CEO Doug Paulin says Sealord is thrilled to be supporting an event that recognises the importance of the seafood sector to the Nelson Tasman community

“The Sealord whānau are everything to us,” says Paulin. “Last year we all worked together to renew our vision, which is now ‘Doing right by our whānau and the environment to bring quality seafood to the world,’ and we do that from right here in Nelson.

“We are looking forward to celebrating with the public at Seafood Saturday on 25 March,” he says.

Event details

  • Seafood Saturday
  • 12pm - 4pm, Upper Trafalgar Street, Nelson
  • The degustation meal is ticketed at $69 for five seafood dishes and five wine tasters matched to the seafood; other activities are free to the community.
  • Tickets go on sale 11 February from

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