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New body looks to boost species and earnings

NEW ZEALAND - The aquaculture industry has set its sights on introducing new species and adding value to existing ones as it aims to treble sales by 2025.

Industry leaders gathered in Nelson this week to launch Aquaculture New Zealand, a new industry body representing mussel, oyster, salmon and paua farmers.

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton gave details of $400,000 funding assistance for the industry, including money for councils to define new aquaculture areas.

The funding is mainly to help identify areas which should be kept free of aquaculture, support environmental studies, and to encourage Maori involvement in aquaculture.

National's fisheries spokesman, Phil Heatley, says government policies have meant no new marine farms for six years.

Chairman of Aquaculture New Zealand, Peter Vitasovich said marine farmers have been frustrated over the lack of new space and other bureaucratic strictures. However, he says a new partnership with government, Maori and other stakeholders is a good start.

Source: Radio New Zealand