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Aquaculture Has Potential To Expand

Economics Politics +2 more

NEW ZEALAND - Addressing the 2010 ACT conference in Wellington, Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers said that the government needs to commit to research and development to expand the industry.

20 per cent of the diet for 2.6 billion people is fish. Yet going out to sea with nets cannot cope with the demands a growing world population will place upon wild capture. According to Ernst & Young, aquaculture could be worth up to $2.2 billion to the New Zealand economy.

That could be conservative.

Norway exports $4.5 billion worth of salmon and trout each year and effectively controls production out of Scotland and Chile. Aquaculture is to Chile what sheep are to New Zealand – nigh on a $3 billion dollar industry – or ten Avatars each and every year. What aquaculture needs are direct policy support and research and development.

Indeed, what farmers of all types need, is a bipartisan commitment to research and development to achieve a sustained spend of three per cent of GDP by 2029.

Yet in aquaculture trout presents itself as another economic test. Here’s a fish that isn’t native and is farmed everywhere except here. Moreover it can be farmed in saltwater or fresh yet removing it from the Conservation Act is akin to changing the name of New Zealand.

Protecting the interests of Fish & Game is denying New Zealand an industry that could be worth $US50 million in five years and much more after that. That’s only the tip of an iceberg when you factor in several freshwater crayfish farms, the farming of eel, whitebait and our other fish species. It’s time for the Government to send some pro-business signals and when you have Sanford, who would start farming trout tomorrow, it’s bizarre we are not making the most of our natural and introduced species.