July 20, 2007


New Zealand finding its role in global aquaculture market



New Zealand successfully carve out a promising niche in global aquaculture markets, according to food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank.


With abundant clean coastal waters, a clean and green reputation and strong focus on product quality, the industry is well placed to become an increasingly significant contributor to the New Zealand rural economy, Rabobank's head of Food and Agribusiness Research New Zealand and Australia, Bill Cordingley said.


Revenues in New Zealand's aquaculture industry has ballooned from NZD 55 million to NZD 390 million in two decades, an impressive achievement, Cordingley said.


Production from the key commercial sectors grew from just over 23,000 tonnes in 1990 to over 107,000 tonnes in 2006, the bank's report said. 


Mussel farming, salmon farming and oyster farming are the top three aquaculture activities in New Zealand.


Furthermore, New Zealand is also focusing on developing other aquaculture sectors, including abalone farming and kingfish farming, Cordingley noted.


New Zealand sector is determined to take full advantage of the attractive global opportunity as wild catch dwindle amidst growing consumer demand for seafood, Cordingley said.


In 2006, New Zealand identified a ten-point plan to achieve the industry's long term goal of reaching industry sales of NZD 1 billion by 2025.


Like most of the country's exports, the growth of New Zealand aquaculture is closely linked to success in export markets, Cordingley said.


The aquaculture industry has had considerable success in this respect, with total aquaculture exports growing from around NZD 53 million in 1990 to over NZD 230 million in 2006. Export sales peaked in 2002 at NZD 252 million, largely due to a competitive exchange rate.


Although the current strength of the New Zealand dollar is a concern, aquaculture exports has continued to grow, Cordingley said, suggesting that the industry is in for a rebound when the currency returns to more stable levels. 

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