Lee Fish are bringing fresh New Zealand caught fish to the tables of high-class restaurants all around the world.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Leigh Fisheries is based in Leigh, a little fishing village one hour north of Auckland, and has been exporting fresh fish for many decades. Initially, we exported solely under the Lee Fish brand. But in the last 20 years, we have begun exporting to an additional 15 countries including Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.”
“Our fish is famous overseas, but you never used to be able to find it in New Zealand. However, a few years ago we decided to change that. We created ‘Lee Fish NZ’, which was to become the domestic distributor, working directly with some of New Zealand’s best chefs. The results have been exceptional, with a lot of happy customers and a massive amount of satisfaction on our behalf at supporting our nation’s burgeoning culinary sector. We are very proud to see what our chefs are capable of.”
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“We catch a range of fish species, but our primary focus is on long-lining for inshore species including snapper, tarakihi, kingfish, hapuka, trevally and gurnard. Long-lining is a very targeted, low-impact method of fishing and the quality of the fish it produces is much better in terms of shelf-life, as well as taste and texture. We differentiate ourselves by catching fish based on quality as opposed to quantity, and we take special care of every kilo of fish that comes aboard our boats.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“The method of fishing and the species we catch have remained the same for years. We were taught by the discerning Japanese in the 70s and 80s how to catch, iki-jime, which is brain spike as well as slurry, and how to package our fish to ensure a perfect quality. We plan to continue to uphold that standard. “
“In terms of the business it is a very dynamic game, and we are constantly changing and adapting to keep on top of both consumer growth and the daily fluctuations of catch. The key to our sustained growth is our ability to maintain our level of service as we take on more customers.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“We have found that chefs like to have a one-stop-shop for their kaimoana needs. So, as well as supplying them with our Lee Fish branded catch, we have teamed up with top producers so that we have the best overall seafood offering. This includes the likes of Kaipara oysters, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon and Southern Clams.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
“Our Lee Fish product is strictly a chef-brand only. You will not see it at a retail level, so the public can experience it only when they are dining out. Our annual catch volume is limited so we are not aiming to supply the whole foodservice sector. Instead, we are just looking to work with restaurants who support sustainable fishing and who want the best quality products for their patrons. 38 of Auckland’s Metro top 50, as well as many other restaurants across Auckland and nationwide, are now using our fish. That is a testament to the fact we are out here doing things differently than the rest. Our goal now is to keep on telling the story of long-line sustainable fishing so that we can continue the path of positive change in both the culinary world and the fishing industry.”
For more information, please visit http://www.leefish.com or check out the Lee Fish Instagram page @leefishnz .