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Funding For NZ Aquaculture

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand's aquaculture industry is set for an economic growth boost with the announcement of a NZ$600,000 contestable fund to encourage innovative market development projects.

As part of the Government's programme for partnering with industry, the contestable fund will be administered on a dollar-for-dollar match basis and will be made available to eligible companies for approved projects.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says the fund will provide support for a small number of very high quality projects that have the scope and scale to improve the profitability and competitiveness of the sector.

"By focusing on projects with a total cost of $100,000 or more the fund will further enhance those marketing initiatives that have the potential to drive industry growth over the medium to long term.

Aquaculture in New Zealand has already grown phenomenally from very small beginnings to become a significant primary industry. The ultimate goal is a sales target of $1 billion by 2025."

Aquaculture is New Zealand's fastest growing seafood sector and accounts for 15 percent of New Zealand's seafood exports by revenue. In 2007 aquaculture exports were worth NZ$227 million with 77 active markets for GreenshellTM Mussels, Pacific Oysters and King Salmon.

Projects supported by the fund will contribute to the wider goals of the New Zealand Aquaculture Market Development Strategy (MDS). Aquaculture New Zealand (AQNZ) is in the implementation phase of the MDS with support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and funding assistance through the Food and Beverage Taskforce.

Successful applicants to the fund will be selected by an assessment panel made up of an AQNZ representative, two New Zealand Trade and Enterprise representatives and two external industry representatives.

The fund is part of a larger $6.5 million pool that will benefit the development of the industry. Based on outcomes from this funding, further funding may be made available up to the end of the fiscal year 2010/11.

the Fish Site Editor

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