April 28, 2010

 

New Zealand outlines plans for aquaculture reform

 
 

The New Zealand government announced Tue (Apr 27) plans for the future shape of the country's aquaculture industry in a move to support the industry's goal of reaching NZD1 billion (US$712 million) in sales by 2025, a three-fold increase on the current level.


The Cabinet has signed off on a range of amendments that will boost the sector's earning potential, Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley said.


While central government was committed to backing industry growth and development, management of aquaculture would remain with regional councils, he said.


There was agreement in principle that the fisheries ministry would be granted authority to amend regional coastal plans "in cases of significant regional or national interest," according to Heatley.


"We want to free up regulatory bottlenecks that have kept aquaculture planning in limbo," he said.


Inflexible rules had limited the industry, stopping companies from investing in the sector, and blocked the creation of new aquaculture space.


"We need to create the right platform for our aquaculture sector to realise its full potential," he added.


As part of the changes, the Resource Management Act would be revised, and a business unit would be created within the Fisheries Ministry.


The government earlier announced it would contribute NZD1.69 million (USD 1.2 million) to a seafood and aquaculture research facility. The research facility was expected to cost NZD5.73 million (USD 4.13 million), including the government funding.

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