Funding boost for New Zealand aquaculture
New Zealand's aquaculture, the country's fastest growing seafood sector has been given a financial boost.
According to Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, investment in the sector would accelerate the industry's programme to drive growth over the medium to long term.
To help aquaculture companies take advantage of emerging offshore opportunities, Brownlee announced the addition of NZ$550,000 (US$401,731) to the aquaculture market development contestable fund.
Launched in early 2009, the fund is administered on a dollar-for-dollar match basis and is available to eligible companies for approved projects. The extra investment follows the first round allocation of NZ$600,000 (US$438,252) for five projects focusing on opportunities for the sector in key markets including Asia and North America.
''Aquaculture accounts for almost 20% of New Zealand's seafood exports by revenue and currently generates close to NZ$350 million (US$255.3 million) annually with a target goal to reach NZ$1 billion (US$729.6 million) in sales by 2025,'' Brownlee said.
He added that the activity generated by new projects will build on the five projects which are already under way for two of aquaculture's flagship species, greenshell mussels and king salmon. Along with Pacific oysters these species are major contributors to the growth of aquaculture production in New Zealand.
He said the fund was part of a larger NZ$6.5 million (US$4.74 million) investment that would benefit the development of the industry. Based on outcomes from this funding, further funding may be made available for extra projects during the 2010-11 fiscal year.