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NZ Nominates Northland as Aquaculture Centre

NEW ZEALAND - The Government is to investigate finfish and oyster farming opportunities in Northland in a bid to grow New Zealands aquaculture industry, Minister for the Environment Nick Smith and Minister of Fisheries Phil Heatley announced today.

“The main objective is to determine the feasibility of potential Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) for oyster and finfish farming and related aquaculture activities,” Dr Smith said.

It will allow 19 possible AMA sites identified by the Northland Regional Council to be evaluated for their potential as marine farms, as well as investigating whether other promising sites exist around the Northland coast.

“This is further evidence of the Government’s commitment to backing aquaculture as a greater earner of export revenue and a provider of domestic jobs,” Mr Heatley said.

“This coordinated approach to planning for the future dovetails with the Government’s overhaul of the Resource Management Act, which includes the rules governing aquaculture.

“The aquaculture industry has a goal of becoming a $1 billion-a-year industry by the year 2025 and the Government is committed to helping it achieve this target.”

The project, led by the Ministry for the Environment, will undertake research to identify some of the best locations for aquaculture on the basis of their productive potential. Initially the Ministry will be talking to groups with an interest in aquaculture about their preferences, particularly in relation to the areas and types of farming they consider worthy of further investigation.

The Ministry will then carry out detailed assessments of the environmental effects of marine farming in these preferred locations and consult with those who might consider themselves potentially affected by any such development. The project will take around 18 months to complete.

“Engagement with the Northland Regional Council, industry, iwi and others with an interest in aquaculture will ensure that any decisions made are based on good research and communication,” Mr Heatley said.

The wider Northland community will be informed through regular progress reports and will also have the normal opportunities to participate under the RMA.

The project will be run with careful consideration given to the direction and guidance set by the regional council through Plan Change 4 to its Regional Coastal Plan.

“Ultimately, the project will result in a solid, credible body of information on the prospects for aquaculture in Northland. This work will be of great value in helping further develop a sustainable aquaculture industry in Northland and therefore assisting the region in diversifying its economy,” Dr Smith said.

the Fish Site Editor

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