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Seafood Growing Steadily

16 December 2011, at 12:00am

NEW ZEALAND - New aquaculture legislation and an increased hoki catch allowance have helped position New Zealands seafood industry for continuing growth.

MAF has released a half-year update to the annual Situation and Outlook for New Zealand Agriculture and Forestry (SONZAF) report, which went out in June.

Following the merger with the Ministry of Fisheries in July, MAF is now including seafood in its forecasting.

The update shows that wild capture fisheries production was up 2.4 per cent to 442,000 tonnes in the year to 30 September 2011.

This was driven by recent enlargement of the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) for hoki, and further production increases are expected in the medium term, says Stuart Day, MAF Acting Manager Economic and Industry Development.

Export earnings from wild-capture fisheries were up by $22.9 million (up 1.9 per cent), to $1.22 billion.

Meanwhile, earnings from exports of farmed fish and shellfish were up 24.2 per cent ($60.1 million) to $308.7 million, driven off a volume increase of 11.9 per cent (up 4,900 tonnes).

MAF reports new aquaculture legislation passed in August sets the legal framework needed to support growth in the aquaculture sector.

One company, King Salmon, has since submitted a proposal for eight new salmon farm sites in the Marlborough Sounds under the new provisions.

MAF forecasts that aquaculture production will increase at a moderate rate in the short to medium term.

Mussel exports were the single largest earner this past year, at $221 million, followed by rock lobster at $213 million, hoki at $188 million and squid at $104 million.

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