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Bringing Aquaculture into the Classroom

by Ellen Hardy
16 May 2008, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - Investment in student learning is a key step in the growth of sustainable aquaculture and the communities in New Zealand supported by it, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today.

Jim Anderton said environmentally sustainable aquaculture was already an important part of New Zealand’s economy.

“A part that is poised to significantly grow in the next 20 years – which means we are looking to the students of today to be the leaders of tomorrow in this industry.”

Jim Anderton visited Queen Charlotte College in Picton today to see the college’s newly operational wet lab and learn how the government’s new ‘aquaculture in action’ resource can be used in the classroom.

This web-based resource was developed to provide students with meaningful social sciences and science learning opportunities around aquaculture.

Jim Anderton said Queen Charlotte College was a leader in providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the aquaculture industry, so it seemed only fitting to officially launch the ‘aquaculture in action’ resource here.

The college’s aquaculture academy was initiated in 2002 as a partnership between Queen Charlotte College and the Blenheim-based Marine Farming Association and is managed through the ongoing support of the local industry and Council.

Queen Charlotte College Principal Tom Parsons said that overall, the college has found that many students rose to the challenge of being involved in real-life research that may provide real-life solutions.

“The aquaculture academy offers one way the school works to provide those learning experiences.”

Queen Charlotte College’s focus on aquaculture mirrors the region’s interest in the industry. As the second largest industry in the region it employs about 1,000 people. The Marlborough Sounds encompasses approximately 70 per cent of New Zealand aquaculture industry.

Marine Farming Association executive officer Graeme Coates said aquaculture is an integral part of our region, so partnerships like the one we have with Queen Charlotte College makes sense.

“After all, it’s our children going to these schools – they are the future planners, scientists, marine farmers and decision makers.”

The aquaculture in action resource is available at www.aquaculture.govt.nz.

Ellen Hardy