May 6, 2010


New Zealand aquaculture set to expand


Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Phil Heatley has announced the reformation plans of the aquaculture industry in New Zealand.


Chief executive John Morgan, in behalf of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa), has agreed to some amendments to help improve the sector's potential to create sustainable economic growth for the national industry through the production of mussels, oysters and salmon.


"We believe that the aquaculture industry can reach its goal of NZ$1 billion (US$ 729.6 million) in sales by 2025, particularly if it expands into new high-value finfish," Morgan said.


Hapuku has the potential as a premium product in the global fine dining sector, according to a recent market tasting of Niwa's farmed fish by Australasian chefs.


Niwa has profitably produced commercial quantities of juvenile kingfish and similarly, hapuku is next. Researchers are currently working on selective breeding, ensuring the continued enhancement of stock quality and comprehending the conditions needed for optimal growth of the species to market-size.


Aquaculture New Zealand Chairman Peter Vitasovich also said the government's move, which will streamline the Resource Management Act, among other advantages, will help the industry reach its sales goal by 2025.


In terms of aquaculture growth, Vitasovich said its stagnancy became clear in 2004 when a moratorium was lifted. No new water space has been allocated, farmers have not been able to switch farmed species and the renewal process has been thorny.


Referring to the recent case of the volcanic ash over Europe and consequent urgent demand for king salmon, Vitasovich said the changes will let the industry respond rapidly to unexpected changes.

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