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Seeking Quality in Aquaculture

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand's aquaculture industry has to be one of quality, not quantity, according to Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton.

He said the country is too small to be in the volume business and must concentrate on supplying niche markets at the top end of the value chain.

Mr Anderton also defended the Government's aquaculture marine area legislation during a visit to the Queen Charlotte College according to reports in the Malborough Express.

He was visiting the school's aquaculture academy's newly operational wet lab and the launch of the Government's web based "aquaculture in action" resource for junior students.

"While it's true we have difficulties with resource management applications, the upside is when we get them there's time to prepare and time to consider," he said.

"There's not a gold rush where; you have so many new areas to service you don't have the skills and investment to do so," he said.

Mr Anderton said when the moratorium on aquaculture space came off the Government had to apply the old rules to the piled up applications.

He told them he had been to Chile, which had an open slather approach to aqua-culture. Rapid growth there was very impressive with salmon aquaculture being three times the size of New Zealand's entire fisheries in 20 years.

But in recent times they have had one problem after another with disease.

"You get one problem and `bang' it goes through the whole aquaculture sector and suddenly you are almost out of business.

"It's all right for a while but suddenly when you cop a disease in the industry everyone is hit," he said.

View the MAlboprough Express story by clicking here.