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Forum helps chart future path for aquaculture

MEDIA RELEASE

Forum helps chart future path for aquaculture

For immediate release: Tuesday 5 December 2006

A forum of regional and national industry players has signalled a potentially bright future for sustainable aquaculture in the Bay of Plenty.

Set up by Environment Bay of Plenty, the forum’s purpose was to help chart a course for the development of a local aquaculture industry. It follows the regional council’s completion of a million dollar aquaculture research project.

The forum, held in Whakatane on Tuesday 5 December, was attended by more than 80 regional and national industry interests, iwi, and a range of Government and local government organisations. The Minister of Economic Development Trevor Mallard was guest speaker.

Mr Mallard shared his views on the key focus areas for the Government’s response to the Aquaculture Sector Strategy. The Sector Strategy has been written by the Aquaculture industry to help realise their vision of being a $1 billion industry by 2025. The Government’s response to the strategy is due out early in the new year. Mr Mallard discussed a plan of commitment to support the aquaculture industry in the following areas:

- Building the confidence to invest

- Improving public support for aquaculture

- Promoting Maori success in aquaculture

- Capitalising on research and innovation

- Increasing market revenues.

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman John Cronin says the idea behind the gathering was “to seek a common direction for developing the aquaculture industry in the Bay of Plenty”. It was the first of its kind, he says.

Mr Cronin says the day included discussions on “how we can move forward together and start to look at developing a sustainable aquaculture industry here.”

Mr Cronin says sustainable aquaculture can benefit the people of the region, not just economically but in other ways. “We are committed to sustainable development in the Bay of Plenty and we believe aquaculture should be part of its future.”

Environment Bay of Plenty chief executive Bill Bayfield told the forum that the Bay of Plenty was “just the place” for a sustainable aquaculture industry. “Our research has shown that Bay of Plenty waters can readily support it. We have great growing conditions, with opportunities for new species. We’ve pretty much completed the groundwork in terms of regulations around it. We understand that the community wants it, particularly in the eastern Bay. We’re ready.”

Mr Bayfield says the regional council is seeking partnerships, including funding partnerships, for aquaculture development. It is looking to work with the aquaculture industry, iwi, district and city councils, government ministries and regional development agencies. “We want to know how we can collectively make aquaculture work for the region and for New Zealand.”

Mr Bayfield works at national level with aquaculture. Before becoming Environment Bay of Plenty’s chief executive early this year, he was in charge of the Ministry for the Environment’s sustainable industry office. “The world cannot sustain more capture fisheries and, given the worldwide taste for seafood, farming is the future. With its large area of coast, New Zealand is in the ideal situation to make the most of the opportunity. However, we must ensure it is sustainable both environmentally and economically – that underpins everything.”

ENDS

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