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Signals strong for aquaculture industry

Signals strong for aquaculture industry

The New Zealand aquaculture industry now has a sound platform for future growth Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope told a strategic forum today.

Mr Benson-Pope told a gathering of key industry representatives and regional government, called together to support an initiative of the NZ Aquaculture Council to develop a National Sector Strategy and Action Plan, that aquaculture was entering a new era.

"The passing of the aquaculture legislation at the end of 2004 brought a close to a long and difficult process of reform," Mr Benson-Pope said. "When the government came to power, aquaculture was in a state of crisis. We listened to your concerns. We worked hard with industry to achieve an outcome that addressed the major issues.

"The environment for aquaculture development is now more certain and predictable, and the stage is set for a period of growth and development in the sector."

Mr Benson-Pope says he is delighted that the industry and government are working together to make the intention of the new legislation a reality. He says today's forum, which also brought major regional authorities into the fold, provided the opportunity to form key links.

"The aquaculture industry has proved to be an able innovator in the past, with the development of the mussel and oyster sectors being entirely industry led," said Mr Benson-Pope.

"The feedback I've been receiving from the industry has been incredibly positive. I certainly expect that, in those regions that can support aquaculture development, new ventures will be established over the next few years.

"New Zealand is a small player in the world market but what others achieve through scale economies and proximity to markets we must do through innovation and creativity. I see that continuing.

"Aquaculture will generate new jobs in many regional areas, and growth in industry could well become an important economic driver in rural coastal areas where opportunities are needed most."

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