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Blue economy focus of Cawthron symposium

Blue economy focus of Cawthron symposium

A gathering of scientists, central and local government officials, and industry and iwi representatives in Nelson this week will discuss ways to broaden existing sheltered water aquaculture with open ocean aquaculture.

New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation, Cawthron Institute, is hosting its inaugural Open Oceans Aquaculture Symposium, “Unlocking the Potential of our Oceans”, which will discuss the ways open ocean aquaculture developments in shellfish, seaweed and finfish farming could revolutionise New Zealand’s aquaculture industry.

The symposium is being held from 5-7 August 2019 at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson, New Zealand.

Cawthron Institute CEO Professor Charles Eason says farming in the exposed ocean environment is the new frontier in global aquaculture and as stewards of an enormous ocean estate, open ocean aquaculture affords New Zealand the best opportunity to grow its blue economy.

“Leading science and engineering, combined with industry expertise and grounded by environmental stewardship will help build our knowledge base to ensure we approach open ocean aquaculture in a way that is innovative and sustainable,” says Professor Eason. “By combining appropriate environmental and site planning with smart farming systems, we can sustainably realise the value of our vast open ocean resources, as well as create jobs and futures for many people.

“Cawthron has a strong group of researchers that have been involved in open ocean aquaculture for more than 10 years. We are advancing open ocean aquaculture technology through the development of new tools and methods and through our long-standing collaborative relationships with local and international experts.”

Cawthron’s Open Oceans Aquaculture Symposium is a unique opportunity to bring together industry and global research leaders to discuss ways to boost New Zealand’s open ocean aquaculture potential, Eason says. “There is a lot of interest in the symposium, and we are happy that more than 200 people will be attending.

“Aquaculture in New Zealand is still some way from reaching its full potential,” says Professor Eason. “During this symposium we will be discussing and highlighting technological advancements from both New Zealand scientists and global research leaders, as well as the social, environmental and economic aspects of open ocean aquaculture. Aquaculture provides an effective way to help sustainably meet the increasing global demand for protein and other high-value products.”

The Open Oceans Aquaculture Symposium will bring to New Zealand experts from Norway, Germany, USA, Chile and Australia, all of whom have collaborated with Cawthron scientists to support Cawthron’s growing open ocean capabilities.

Among the speakers is one of Cawthron’s aquaculture specialists Kevin Heasman, who has presented internationally on open ocean aquaculture and who is leading development of the methods to farm shellfish and seaweed in the open ocean, as well as marine scientists Chris Cornelisen and Paul Barter, who will present on the essential technologies needed for open ocean aquaculture.


For more details about the symposium and to register go to

About Cawthron Institute:

Cawthron Institute is New Zealand's largest independent science organisation, offering a broad spectrum of services to help protect the environment and support sustainable development of primary industries.

Based in the Nelson Tasman region, Cawthron works with regional councils, government departments, major industries, private companies, and other research organisations throughout New Zealand and around the world. Cawthron is a diverse organisation employing more than 250 scientists, laboratory technicians, researchers and specialist staff from 26 countries.

Cawthron’s scientists have expertise in aquaculture research, marine and freshwater resource management, food safety and quality, algal technologies, biosecurity and analytical testing. Its ground-breaking science is supported by substantial testing and research laboratories, state-of-the-art technology and a purpose-built aquaculture park. The Cawthron Aquaculture Park also houses a recently-opened Finfish Research Centre designed to deliver commercially-relevant science to enable improved stock management and husbandry and support the development and growth of the finfish aquaculture industry.

Cawthron’s future developments include its upcoming National Algae Research Centre which will enable Cawthron to expand its internationally-recognised work in the rapidly growing algae sector and create value for existing and future partners. Cawthron has more than 30 years of expertise in algae research, from microscopic level through to the impact of algae in our marine ecosystems, and is one of only a few organisations worldwide to specialise in extracting high-value bioactive compounds from algae. Construction of the Centre is scheduled to begin by October 2020.

For more information go to

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