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Changes in Aquaculture Law Needed to Help Industry

Economics Politics +2 more

NEW ZEALAND - Moves to reform New Zealand's aquaculture industry swiftly through the new Aquaculture Technical Advisory Group (TAG) have been welcomed by the industry.

Aquaculture New Zealand has said that without major legislative change, New Zealand’s fledgling aquaculture industry will stagnate and have little chance of achieving its $1 billion revenue target by 2025.

The new group is by former minister of fisheries, Doug Kidd, and has until the end of September to provide its advice to fisheries minister Phil Heatley and environment minister Nick Smith.

A report in the National Business Review says that the NZ$400 million aquaculture industry is static with little room to move as laid down in 2004 with the aquaculture law reform.

The National Business Review says that Aquaculture NZ chairman Peter Vitasovich does not believe the reform provides a workable environment for the industry, but the short time frame allocated to the TAG is pleasing, because it prevents any further delays to addressing legislation holding back further development of the industry.

The Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No2) introduced by the previous government is continuing to address some technical problems with the current industry regime, but it does not address the big issues that remain as barriers, the report says.

There are concerns that an industry goal of more than doubling its revenue by 2025 to NZ$1 billion is unachievable unless changes to the legislation are made.

The issues include the need to unlock coastal space available for aquaculture. More important, is opening up the industry to a farm a broader range of species. Currently, just mussels, oysters and salmon are farmed.

Beyond that, the industry is keen to develop scallops, kingfish and other fin fish in farming operations, which would have strong domestic and international markets.