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South Island eel and fish merchants and seafood processors

South Island eel & fish merchants and seafood processors

Mossburn Enterprises is a Southland, New Zealand-based seafood processing and export company specialising in inshore species and deep sea fish from its plant in Kennington, Invercargill.  The company’s main focus is in the export of live eels and eel products, for which it is now recognised as New Zealand’s leading producer and exporter in New Zealand eels and eel products.

Early days of eel fisheries

The company was originally named after the Southland town of Mossburn, where it started out in 1967. The brand name "Waituna" was later adopted.  In New Zealand’s native Maori language Waituna translates to Wai -water, and Tuna - eels.  Waituna: River of Eels.

As company director and shareholder since 1971, Victor Thompson has taken Mossburn’s seafood processing and exporting from strength to strength.

Operations were moved to Invercargill as eel fisheries in New Zealand are mainly coastal, and because all products destined for overseas markets are exported from Bluff, which is Southland’s export port.

The people of Mossburn Enterprises – we know our seafood                                                                          

Victor Thompson and his wife Linda took over the business in 2000, introducing a new structure to keep pace with industry changes, and to focus on developing new markets. 

The Waituna Brand represents a quality export product which is maintained through the experience and industry knowledge of its key staff in all areas of its operation, including fish stock management, quality assurance in its processing, product development and identifying new export markets.

Victor Thompson

Exporting Live Eels and Eel Products around the world

In 2003 Mossburn Enterprises, along with Southfish, purchased the North Island company, New Zealand Eel Processors Ltd, located at Te Kauwhata, south of Auckland.  New Zealand Eel had been around as long as Mossburn Enterprises and its purchase gave Mossburn access to other international live eel markets.

Purpose-built plant for Deep sea fish and inshore species

In 1980, upon completion of the new, purpose-built premises in Kennington, Invercargill, Mossburn Enterprises moved into processing Deep sea fish (Orange Roughy, Smooth Dory and Hoki) and other inshore species of fish for its shareholding cooperative company, Southfish.

The Waituna brand of fish and eel products

All fish are marketed under the brand name, Waituna, and exported to wholesale markets and retailers in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the UK, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Russia, and USA.

The Waituna Brand carries with it a reputation for quality eel and deep sea fish, in a range of products designed to meet the specialist needs of different customers around the world.

To view the range of products available under the Waituna Brand, click here.

Sustainable Fish Stock Management in NZ

“Mossburn Enterprises has been the main driving force behind the implementation of eel management measures throughout New Zealand,” says Victor.

“In 1990 commercial eel fishers became concerned about the lack of management and sustainability of the eel fishery.  To that end we in the eel industry applied to the government for a $1.2 million grant to develop a plan for all the stake holders.”

 In 2000 an extensive management plan was put in place involving all concerned with eel fisheries, starting with the South Island operations, eel fisheries then came under the New Zealand Quota Management System (QMS).  In 2004 the North Island followed the South Island into QMS.

  The Waituna Brand Factory