January 2, 2009

New Zealand announces aquaculture fund


New Zealand government has announced a NZ$600,000 contestable fund to encourage innovative aquaculture projects.

Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said on Friday (Jan 2) the fund will be administered on a dollar-for-dollar match basis and made available to eligible companies for approved projects.

Brownlee said the fund would provide support for a small number of high quality projects that had the scope and scale to improve the profitability and competitiveness of the aquaculture sector.

He said by focusing on projects with a total cost of NZ$100,000 or more, the fund will further enhance marketing initiatives that have potential to drive industry growth over the medium to long term.

Successful applicants to the fund will be selected by an assessment panel made up of an Aquaculture NZ representative, two New Zealand Trade and Enterprise representatives and two external industry representatives.

The fund is part of a larger NZ$6.5 million pool intended to benefit the development of the industry.

Brownlee added that based on results, further funding might be made available up to the end of the 2010-11 financial year.

New Zealand's ultimate goal is an aquaculture sales target of NZ$1 billion by 2025.

US$1 = NZ$1.73 (Jan 2)

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