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Increase In Aquaculture Funding

NEW ZEALAND - Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee says investment in New Zealand's fastest growing seafood sector will accelerate the industry's programme to drive growth over the medium to long term.

To help New Zealand aquaculture companies take advantage of emerging offshore opportunities, Mr Brownlee has announced the addition of $550,000 to the aquaculture market development contestable fund.

Launched in early 2009, as part of the Government's programme for partnering with industry, the contestable fund is administered on a dollar-for-dollar match basis and is available to eligible companies for approved projects. This additional investment follows the first round allocation of $600,000 for five projects focussing on opportunities for the sector in key markets including Asia and North America.

"Aquaculture accounts for almost 20 per cent of New Zealand's seafood exports by revenue and currently generates close to $350 million annually with a target goal to reach $1 billion in sales by 2025," he said.

"The activity generated by new projects will build on the five projects which are already underway for two of aquaculture's flagship species, GreenshellTM Mussels and King Salmon. Along with Pacific Oysters these species are major contributors to the growth of aquaculture production in New Zealand."

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 in response to the recommendations of the Food and Beverage Taskforce.

Applications close on 31 March 2010 and successful applicants will be selected by an assessment panel made up of an AQNZ representative, two NZTE representatives and two external industry representatives.

The fund is part of a larger $6.5 million investment that will benefit the development of the industry. Based on outcomes from this funding, further funding may be made available for additional projects during the 2010/11 fiscal year.

the Fish Site Editor

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