Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


$26 Million Investment Recognises Ground-Breaking Research

16 November 2012

$26 Million Investment Recognises Ground-Breaking Research

Cawthron Institute’s ground-breaking research to domesticate the New Zealand GreenshellTM mussel now has a vehicle to take it to market thanks to a new $26 million agreement announced yesterday, the Cawthron Institute says.

The Ministry for Primary Industries and SPATnz have signed a seven year innovation contract to selectively breed mussel spat at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park north of Nelson, using research established by Cawthron’s MBIE-funded Cultured Shellfish Programme. The announcement was made during Prime Minister John Key’s official visit to Cawthron in Nelson yesterday.

“It’s fantastic that research into product enhancement for GreenshellTM mussels will now be able to be used to benefit the New Zealand mussel industry and help it take off internationally,” Cawthron Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says. “It’s possibly the most exciting thing to happen in the mussel industry for decades – it will propel it forward.”

The new contract will see $13 million each of public and industry funding invested in the project. It has been hailed as the most significant research, development and commercialisation investment made in New Zealand’s GreenshellTM mussel industry since the first marine farms were established in the 1970s.

Professor Eason says the initiative is an excellent example of how industry and science can work together to add value to New Zealand’s existing food export products.

“Mussels are a comparatively low value, high volume product and our goal through scientific advancements and industry collaboration has been to turn it into a high value product,” Professor Eason says. “New Zealand’s strength is in food production and it’s essential, if we want to continue to stand out from the rest of the world, that we maintain a close tie between our commercial sectors and the production-focused research that Cawthron is so good at.”

Currently all mussel seed is collected from the wild, making it difficult to guarantee supply and quality. Cawthron’s research will enable the mussels to be grown from hatchery seed that have been specifically selected for desirable characteristics such as health promoting benefits, rather than from wild spat.

“Currently the mussel seed is only available a few times of the year which makes for an erratic supply if things go wrong,” Cawthron’s Cultured Shellfish Programme leader and Senior Scientist Nick King says.

“Hatchery spat on the other hand can be produced on demand, is of consistent quality and can be produced using selectively bred broodstock, which will provide the mussel industry with the benefits enjoyed by almost every other primary producer.”

Around 70 percent of New Zealand’s mussel production is based in the Top of the South. Mussel exports are worth $220 million annually to the New Zealand economy.

“The breeding and husbandry initiatives we’ve developed here at Cawthron really give the aquaculture sector a chance to step up and play a much more significant role in the food export industry,” Professor Eason says.
Cawthron Institute is New Zealand’s largest independent research institute specialising in freshwater and coastal marine, environmental research and research for the food and aquaculture industries. It also has substantial testing laboratories and provides seafood safety testing for key sectors of the aquaculture industry.

The SPATnz mussel selective breeding programme will see a new shellfish hatchery built at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park. Construction will begin in 2013, with a hatchery building, nursery building and three ponds of approximately 1500sqm each being built on site. The first significant quantities of commercially bred mussels are planned for 2015.

During his visit yesterday, the Prime Minister also unveiled a sign and viewed plans for Cawthron’s new $5 million high-technology laboratories ahead of construction starting in January. He met with key researchers and gave a speech to staff, management and directors around the significance of high-value scientific research and development to the economy, aquaculture in particular, and the positive contribution Cawthron is making in the area.


Image details: The Rt Hon John Key, Prime Minister, at Cawthron Institute in Nelson yesterday to view plans for the new $5 million high-technology laboratories, looks at the science behind the organisation.

Click for big version.

The Rt Hon John Key unveiling new building plans

Click for big version.

The Rt Hon John Key in Laboratory


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news