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Development of an Aquaculture Sector Supported

Support for Development of an Aquaculture Sector Strategy

Funding of $112,500 has been made available to assist the New Zealand Aquaculture Council in its work to help realise the industry's potential, Jim Anderton, Minister for Economic Development, announced today.

This announcement comes on the back of the successful Seafood Week Conference in Wellington last week. The funding comes from the Sector Initiatives Fund and is matched by $100,000 from the industry.

The New Zealand Aquaculture Council will utilise the funding in the development of a sector strategy for the aquaculture industry, including a work plan to tackle the key issues facing the industry in New Zealand.

“Aquaculture currently accounts for 15 per cent of New Zealand’s total seafood export income and is the fastest growing sector of the New Zealand seafood industry. Given that wild harvests of seafood are not expected to grow significantly beyond their already sustainable levels, it is important that we grasp the opportunity presented by marine farming," Jim Anderton said.

“The New Zealand Aquaculture Council will identify and address key issues, such as responding to changing market demands, growth opportunities, trade access and regulatory barriers, skill and labour shortages, research and development needs. Stronger industry-government alliances will be formed to ensure that the opportunities provided by the recent aquaculture reforms are utilised by the industry,” Jim Anderton said.

The Aquaculture Reform Bill 2004 marked a turning point in the way that aquaculture is planned and managed in New Zealand, and a cohesive sector strategy will assist in the successful implementation of these reforms.

“A clearly articulated development strategy will be of enormous value for the industry when it engages with councils, communities and other stakeholders,” Jim Anderton said.

The industry earned in excess of $300m through exports in 2004 and the Aquaculture Council is seeking to grow the industry to $1 billion of export sales by 2020.

The New Zealand Aquaculture Council, comprises industry leaders from all major aquaculture species groups, including mussels, oysters, salmon and paua.

The aquaculture sector strategy will build upon issues identified during the current Food & Beverage sector engagement, while providing a narrower focus to identify obstacles and opportunities that are unique to the industry.

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