Government backs aquaculture

The government wants aquaculture in Northland developed into a $300 million industry employing more than 700 extra workers in less than two decades.

The Northland Aquaculture Development Strategy will be launched by Primary Industries minister David Carter at NIWA's Bream Bay Aquaculture Park tomorrow.

It has been developed over the past 12 months by the Northland Aquaculture Development Group.

The organisation comprises five working groups looking at issues around finfish, oyster, greenshell mussel, freshwater and paua.

Its newly elected chairman, Whangarei-based Ngati Whatua CEO Allan Pivac, says the Government has already set a goal for New Zealand to have a $1 billion aquaculture industry by 2025.

Mr Pivac says the Northland strategy has been developed as a high level plan, with detail to be worked out by the species groups.

The groups are at varying stages of developing sub-strategies for their respective areas.

The Finfish Working Group is nearly finished preparing an initial business case and will then make an application to the Government's Primary Growth Partnership Scheme, that funds projects that make a significant economic impact at a regional level. Its members include representatives of NIWA, Whaingaroa Fisheries Company, Ngatiwai Trust Board, Parengarenga Inc and Te Runanga a Iwi o Ngapuhi.

Mr Pivac says it is envisaged that Northland will play a leading role in New Zealand's aquaculture development through the use of innovation and technology.

Farmed kingfish are being promoted as one of the poten-tial stars in the North's future aquaculture industry.

The yellowtail kingfish industry is expected to operate on land and at sea - tipped to be earning as much as $230m a year by 2030.

Much of the initial development work is being done out of the Bream Bay Aquaculture Park which has a large hatchery and nursery, a brood stock of yellowtail, and produces kingfish fingerlings for domestic and global markets.

Another performer is expected to be the greenshell mussel industry which the group wants to see grow from $1m to $20m annually.

The stalwart of the Northland aquaculture industry - the oyster - is also earmarked to double earnings from $15m to $30m a year by 2030 and the paua industry will double from $10m to $20m.

Mr Pivac says the group wants to see the aquaculture industry forming partnerships with stakeholders and recognising the special rights of Maori in any development plans.

It wants export markets targeted and a focus on continuous supply of high value species, he says.

"We predict that by 2030, with a 20 per cent annual growth rate, we will see a significant increase in Northland's aquaculture."

Copies of the Northland Aquaculture Development Strategy will be available from tomorrow. Contact for more information.

Bay Chronicle