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Aquaculture industry growth strategy launched

31 July 2006

Aquaculture industry growth strategy launched

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The New Zealand Aquaculture Strategy is a welcome development that will provide a strong foundation for growing the sector and contributing to New Zealand's economic transformation, Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard and Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said today.

Trevor Mallard launched the strategy today at the sector's annual conference in Nelson.

"A key goal of the strategy is to build a sustainable $1 billion industry by 2025. This is an exciting vision that will help drive the sector's future sustainable growth. This sector has a lot to contribute to New Zealand as the government works with industry and business on a national and local level to develop an export-led economy which is innovative, high wage, high value.

"A key challenge in recognising the potential of aquaculture is the need for the sector to move further up the value chain, based on increases in productivity," Trevor Mallard said.

"Like many other parts of our economy we cannot continue to grow simply by adding more inputs. Instead we must learn to generate more value from each unit of production. The average value of New Zealand's aquaculture is $3 per kilogram, compared to the Australian value of $20 per kilogram.

"In twenty years time the future of New Zealand's aquaculture industry will look very different to that of today.

"Rather than undertaking business-as-usual activities on a greater scale, the growth of the industry will come through better use of existing space, the development and substitution of new, high value species, the development of new technologies and processes, the development of new value-added products and the diversification into new markets."

Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton said aquaculture had grown to become an industry of national importance, but that enormous potential exists for further development.

"The government is committed to working in partnership with the sector to help it continue to grow and develop. A full government response to the strategy is expected by the end of the year," Mr Anderton said.

The strategy has been developed by the New Zealand Aquaculture Council, with assistance from the Seafood Industry Council and the Ministry of Economic Development, including a government grant of $112,500 to part fund its development.

A ten-point plan on how to meet the $1 billion sales target (equivalent to current sales in the wine industry) is outlined in the strategy. It includes establishing a new national organisation, strengthening the partnership with central, local and regional government as well as iwi and other stakeholders, and developing markets.

Mr Anderton said the government was working to build a strong relationship with the sector. As well as developing a whole-of-government response to the strategy, the government is: · embedding sustainable aquaculture in the government's economic transformation agenda, in recognition of its transformative capability · working with councils and the industry to develop a national statement for sustainable aquaculture · establishing an aquaculture ministers' group, and a chief executives' steering group · examining whether to incorporate sustainable aquaculture development in the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement.

Trevor Mallard said that there was significant international interest in New Zealand as an aquaculture investment location and a new publication showcasing the industry would help stimulate that interest.

"Aquaculture provides one of New Zealand's more exciting opportunities to develop a highly competitive and productive industry. This Investment New Zealand publication is the latest example of the government working alongside the industry to help develop those opportunities.

"Some excellent work is been done, and the government will continue that work in partnership with the industry, councils, iwi and local communities. By doing so we will maximise the value New Zealanders obtain from the sector, while ensuring all development is sustainable," Trevor Mallard said.

Editors Note: The Aquaculture Council includes the NZ Mussel Industry Council, the NZ Salmon Farmers' Association, the NZ Oyster Farmers' Association and the NZ Abalone Farmers' Association.

The strategy can be found at www.nzmic.co.nz

ENDS


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