We stock pilchards because they are at the top of the Best Fish Guide, created by Forest and Bird NZ. We no longer stock Hoki or Mackerel due to recent concerns and controversy regarding their sustainability. See the Best Fish Guide website for more information. Our pilchards are not sprayed with preservatives (nitrates) and are 100% from New Zealand (interestingly, the majority of pilchards sold as bait in New Zealand do not meet these two important characteristics).

Salmon is a great addition to a raw diet, packed full of essential fatty acids and minerals. Our salmon is sustainably sourced from salmon farms in the South Island.


Hoki is cost effective and, nutritionally, they are a useful addition to a varied and balanced raw diet. The Ministry for Primary Industries considers them to be a sustainable option and the NZ Hoki Fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, global sustainability body.

However, we made the decision to stop stocking hoki based on concerns raised regarding their sustainability. Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager, Kevin Hackwell, points out that Hoki stocks are collapsing rapidly:

“The fishery lacks a fish stock recovery plan, which is required under the MSC’s own rules. It also causes serious damage to the seabed by bottom trawling and routinely kills hundreds of seabirds and marine mammals as by-catch every year” *

These concerns, along with the plight of the Maui Dolphin, caused us to re-assess our position on Hoki.

The staff at Raw Essentials recently got together to watch ‘The Last Ocean,’ an award-winning documentary on the fight to protect the Ross Sea from overfishing. The film highlights the controversies behind ‘sustainability’ certifications. 'The End of the Line' is another great documentary outlining the state of the ocean, and the global fishing industry. They are both an incredible watch!


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