July 31, 2006

New Zealand sets out US$1 billion strategy for aquaculture


New Zealand's government is setting up a strategy with an emphasis on raising the value of aquaculture products it hopes would help bring its aquaculture industry into a US$1 billion a year industry in twenty years. 


Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard said a key challenge in recognising the potential of aquaculture is the need for the sector to move further up the value chain, based on increases in productivity, he said.


To emphasize the point, Mallard said the average value of New Zealand's aquaculture harvest is US$3/kg, compared to US$20/kg in Australia, where there is a greater focus on high-value finfish, such as kingfish.


The strategy launched called for a US$1 billion dollar industry by 2025. At present, the industry earns US$333 million from its aquacultural products such as oysters, mussels and king salmon.


Mallard promised a sea-change in New Zealand's aquaculture industry in twenty years time.


Rather than merely expanding, growth of the industry would come through better use of existing space, development of high value species, new technologies and processes, new value-added products and diversified markets, he said. 


Anderton said aquaculture was a key industry and a government response to the strategy was expected by the end of the year.


The strategy was developed by the New Zealand Aquaculture Council, with assistance from the Seafood Industry Council and the Ministry of Economic Development, and a US$112,500 government grant.


It outlines a 10-point plan on how to meet the US$1 billion sales target, including establishing a new national organisation, NZ Aquaculture Ltd.


Anderton said the government was working to incorporate sustainable aquaculture in its own agenda and was developing national guidelines for sustainable aquaculture.

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