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Aquaculture forum makes waves


MEDIA RELEASE


Aquaculture forum makes waves

For immediate release: Monday 1 December 2008

The Bay of Plenty has taken its first steps in developing an aquaculture strategy for the region.

The region’s first aquaculture forum was held in Tauranga last week with the specific aim of starting work on the strategy.

Among the key topics discussed were research and development, innovation, Maori development, training, education, infrastructure and partnerships.

Aquaculture has the potential to contribute to the region’s economic growth by creating extra jobs and investment in the Bay of Plenty.

It was therefore highlighted as a key area where the region could grow and develop in the regional Sustainable Economic Development Strategy launched in November.

The aquaculture forum was run by Environment Bay of Plenty on behalf of the Regional Governance Group, which is made up of representatives from business, the economic development agencies and local councils.

Regional Governance Group Chairman John Cronin said collaboration was the key to the success of the strategy.

“We will all need to work together to develop this strategy. The forum was attended by a wide variety of representatives from business, iwi, Local and Central Government, which shows the willingness to work together in these important early stages of the strategy,” Chairman Cronin said.

Aquaculture NZ Chief Executive Mike Burrell, who facilitated the forum, highlighted the benefits aquaculture could bring to the region.

“Developing an aquaculture presence in the Bay of Plenty has benefits beyond the sector itself,” Mr Burrell said. “With the delivery of proven regional economic benefits elsewhere in the country, aquaculture has been the impetus for the development of supporting or related industries, providing employment and training opportunities and the infrastructure required to support it.”

The forum followed a decision by the Environment Court and the Minister of Conservation which paved the way for the largest marine farm in New Zealand to be developed in the eastern Bay of Plenty.

In 2002 Environment Bay of Plenty granted a consent to Eastern Seafarms Limited to create a mussel farm off the Opotiki coast. This then went to the Environment Court, which upheld the regional council’s decision, and in October the final approval on the last remaining aspect of the proposal was received from the then Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick.

The 3800-hectare farm will be built in stages and will be located about 8.5km off the Opotiki coast.

For more information on aquaculture visit www.envbop.govt.nz and click on the coast tab.

Ends

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