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New Zealand Government Launches Northland Aquaculture Strategy

Lucy Towers
16 November 2012, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - A new aquaculture development strategy aims to see aquaculture in Northland developed into a NZ$300 million industry employing more than 700 extra workers in less than two decades.

The Northland Aquaculture Development Strategy was officially launched by the Minister for Primary Industries, David Carter, at NIWAs Bream Bay Aquaculture Park on Friday 09 November.

The strategy has been developed over the past 12 months by the Northland Aquaculture Development Group (NADG). The group has five working groups Finfish, Oyster, Greenshell Mussel, Freshwater and Paua and their collective membership includes a whos who of those already working/linked to the local aquaculture sector including industry, iwi, scientists.

The Northland Aquaculture Development Groups newly-elected chairman, Whangarei-based Ngati Whatua CEO Allan Pivac, says the Government has already set a goal for New Zealand to have a $1 billion aquaculture industry by 2025.

Northlands contribution to this national target is $300m and at least an extra 700 jobs by 2030. The NADG is the overarching group which supports the aquaculture sectors growth and has various working groups set up to deliver this goal.

Its up to these species-specific working groups to deliver the individual targets set by NADG.

Mr Pivac says the soon-to-be-launched strategy has been developed as a high level plan, with the actual detail to be worked out by the species working groups. All five working groups are currently at varying stages of developing sub-strategies for their respective areas.

The Finfish Working Group is the most active and is in the final stages of preparing an initial business case before making an application to the Governments Primary Growth Partnership Scheme. (The scheme funds projects that make a significant economic impact at a regional level.)

Mr Pivac says Finfish Working Group members include representatives of NIWA, Whaingaroa Fisheries Company Ltd, Ngatiwai Trust Board, Parengarenga Inc and Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi.

He says the wider NADG wants to see Northland play a leading role in New Zealands aquaculture development through the use of innovation and technology.

To that end, farmed kingfish are being promoted as one of the potential stars in the Norths future aquaculture industry.

The group envisages development of a successful yellowtail kingfish industry on land and at sea which its tipping to be earning as much as $230m annually by 2030. Much of the initial work to develop this resource is being done out of the Bream Bay Aquaculture Park, which already boasts a large hatchery and nursery, a brood stock of yellowtail and produces kingfish fingerlings for local and global markets.

Another future big local performer is the Greenshell mussel industry, which the group wants to see grow from NZ$1M to NZ$20M annually over the same period.

The stalwart of the current Northland aquaculture industry the oyster is also earmarked to double earnings from its current NZ$15M to NZ$30M annually by 2030 and the paua industry to double from NZ$10M to NZ$20M.

Mr Pivac says the group wants to see the local aquaculture industry act as a coherent professional collective, forming partnerships with all stakeholders and recognising the special rights of iwi in any development plans.

It also wants to see export markets targeted and a focus on continuous supply of high value species.

Utilising technology and securing strong support networks is another key element, as is maintaining a strong focus on research and development and being innovative in terms of species, products and technology.

Other key target will be securing resource consents for both land and sea areas and funding by preparing an investment proposal and working with the market.

We predict that by 2030, with a 20 per cent annual growth rate, we will see a significant increase in Northlands aquaculture.

Mr Pivac says the Northland Economic Advisory Group (NEAG), a region wide cross-sector group, supports the aquaculture sectors $300M/700-plus jobs goal by 2030.

Further Reading

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