Aquaculture To Help Economy Grow

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
12 January 2010, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Aquaculture, along with minerals and the agricultural sectors will provide three pillars for the transformation of the New Zealand economy, believes Federated Farmers of New Zealand.

“It’s time for New Zealand to back the sectors that represent the sunrise,” says Don Nicolson, President of Federated Farmers.

“By making water storage an infrastructural priority, New Zealand will future proof itself against climate variation. This infrastructure can further create new opportunities by way of in land and freshwater aquaculture.

“It’s not that New Zealand’s running out of rain but the rain is literally running out of New Zealand. Northland has swung from floods last April to very dry conditions right now. It’s time to smooth these climatic swings out.

“This is also about evolving farm practices and the species we farm commercially. It’s about sensibly harvesting the fruits of the environment that benefit every New Zealander. “Federated Farmers is future focused and determined to ensure New Zealand agriculture can meet its many opportunities.

“I can’t emphasise enough the strides farmers have made to lift production as well as their environmental performance. I’m pleased to talk any day of the week on how we’ve slashed the growth of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions through to improving water quality.

“Yet I can’t stand the self-serving ‘fear’ every time the word progress is mentioned. Just look at the reaction to commercial trout farming.

“Fish & Game is, ironically, one of the largest trout farmers in New Zealand through its trout hatcheries. There’s no need to import stock and as for poaching, total prohibition often creates a black market rather than prevents one.

“But it’s not just trout but native fish species too, such as eels, whitebait, mussels and the freshwater crayfish/koura. This is potentially an environmental and economic win-win. Ready access to water could alleviate periods of low rainfall while potentially building a new industry.

“The solution is self-evident but needs political will behind it. That also extends to marine aquaculture as well as New Zealand’s vast sea-floor and terrestrial minerals wealth.

“New Zealand has tremendous natural advantages that many countries don’t. In a resource hungry world the demand for protein, fibre and minerals is set to soar but it remains just that, an opportunity, unless it is realised,” Mr Nicolson concluded.