The initiative is part of a Government-funded six-year research project to develop more sustainable, commercially attractive harvesting methods for New Zealand scampi, and establish land-based aquaculture systems for domestication, reports Aquaculture New Zealand.
The project is led by Cawthron Institute in collaboration with Waikawa Fishing Company, University of Auckland and Zebra-Tech. They hope to refocus the New Zealand scampi industry from frozen commodity production, to live export trade to realise its estimated NZ$200 million annual export potential.
Programme leader and Cawthron scientist Shaun Ogilvie says the initiative marks the first major advance in the sector since it began in the late 1980s and “its success will revolutionise the scampi industry.”
The programme will receive NZ$1.5 million a year over six years from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2013 to develop more sustainable, commercially attractive harvesting methods, and establish land-based aquaculture systems for domestication. The team will be combining sustainable M?ori harvesting methods with revolutionary technology to help achieve their goals.
Current annual New Zealand export earnings from scampi are NZ$21 million but the team believe the potential for the sector is far greater.
“Through the development of more efficient, effective and environmentally-friendly harvesting technologies and species domestication, we’re aiming to support the industry to increase this to NZ$200 million in annual exports by 2030,” Dr Ogilvie says.
Cawthron Institute is a world-leader in aquaculture research, breeding and farming systems. Scientists at Cawthron Aquaculture Park were the first in the world to domesticate New Zealand’s iconic Greenshell mussel and are now working with industry to breed for desired traits.
A multi-disciplinary team of experts are also involved in the programme, helping with everything from pot design and field-testing to improved ship-board transport, aquaculture development and economic modelling.
The programme will be advised and guided by an international technical advisory group of industry, marine technology and science experts including Maori fishing quota holders, and marine technology, science and industry peers from Scotland, Portugal, Norway, USA and Japan.