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New Aquaculture Initiatives Announced

by Ellen Hardy
15 July 2008, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - New funding has been announced for aquaculture projects in Tasman, Northland and Marlborough aimed at progressing aquaculture planning and the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry in New Zealand.

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said: "Funding of $2.6 million over four years has been provided for six new aquaculture projects that will take place mainly in Northland, Tasman and Marlborough.

"They are aimed at facilitating the creation of new aquaculture space, and they will also explore how there can be greater flexibility for the farming of new species in existing space (details below)."

The minister was briefed on the two Tasman-based aquaculture projects during a visit to Nelson-based New Zealand King Salmon.

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said the projects were important for the development of the industry.

"Aquaculture has immense potential to help transform New Zealand’s economy in both environmentally and socially sustainable ways.

"New Zealand’s farmed fish and shellfish production is now worth $300 million a year and there is an industry strategy in place to reach a billion dollars in sales by 2025.

"Through these projects we want to ensure that maximum value is achieved from existing space. The projects will also focus on the development of new aquaculture management areas and address issues relating to restrictions on species that can be farmed.

"We also want to test the potential of farming off-shore," Jim Anderton said.

Aquaculture projects

Small extensions to existing marine farms - Marlborough

An investigation into rationalising the ‘coastal ribbon’ of marine farms and thereby creating new space will be carried out. The project involves the Ministry for the Environment and other relevant government agencies working with the Marlborough District Council, iwi and industry to work out how to slightly extend and maximise the space available for aquaculture.

Removing restrictions on species - Tasman

The Ministry for the Environment will work with the Tasman District Council to assist them to review their plan provisions with the possibility of broadening them to include aquaculture activities other than mussel and scallop spat catching and mussel farming.

Facilitating commercialisation of offshore aquaculture

This project involves the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Fisheries working with industry, the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and scientific researchers to further investigations into the viability of commercialisation of offshore aquaculture.

Voluntary aquaculture agreements - Tasman

Government assistance will be provided for commercial fishing quota holders and aquaculture interests in Tasman to negotiate voluntary aquaculture agreements to allow high quality aquaculture space to become available. The project recognises the unique situation with respect to aquaculture and fishing interests in Tasman, and allows the voluntary agreement provisions of the aquaculture law to be tested.

Northland aquaculture management areas

The Ministry for the Environment and other relevant government agencies will work with Northland Regional Council, industry and the local community on the development of new aquaculture management areas, working within the framework recently developed by the Council. Investigations into the possibility of a government-led plan change to create new aquaculture management areas are proposed.

Reviewing the restriction on commercial farming of Undaria

The Ministry for the Environment will work with Biosecuity New Zealand to review the current restriction on the commercial harvest of Undaria, an exotic Asian seaweed introduced to New Zealand approximately 20 years ago that is now common in a number of aquaculture areas.

Ellen Hardy