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Newoundland Oyster Push Could Top Up $10m Gains

NEW ZEALAND - Finfish and oyster farming could pump at least $10 million into Northland a year if a Government push to increase productivity proves successful, Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley says.

TheNorthernAdvocate says that the ministries for the environment and fisheries are investigating opportunities for aquaculture growth in Northland, particularly oyster and finfish, in a bid to increase exports and boost employment numbers.

But oyster farmers say the Government and Northland Regional Council (NRC) must first guarantee water quality before people started investing in aquaculture.

According to the TheNorthernAdvocate, spokesman Alan Tindall, who was forced to move his oyster farms from the polluted Waikare Inlet to Orongo Bay in 2001, said pollution was the key issue before there was any aquaculture expansion.

He was among 11 oyster farmers who were forced to shut up shop following sewage spills and consequently faced a legal bill of more than $300,000.

Mr Heatley, who is also MP for Whangarei, said 19 aquaculture marine areas (AMFs) around the region would be examined for their potential as marine farms, as well as other promising sites.

He said the industry could be worth an extra $10 million-plus a year, if managed properly.

the Fish Site Editor

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