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Boost to aquaculture sector

16 November 2007

Boost to aquaculture sector

The next phase of the aquaculture sector’s market development plan has been announced today by Economic Development Minister Pete Hodgson.

The plan focuses on how to meet the industry’s goal of earning NZ $1 billion per annum by 2025.

“Up to $500,000, provided through Food & Beverage Taskforce funds will be used over 2007/2008 to build value for the industry, identify new market demands, strengthen the industry’s position in accessing markets, and enhance capability and cohesion across the sector,” Pete Hodgson said.

There are five tasks in this phase of the development plan that are expected to achieve these goals.

Firstly, Aquaculture New Zealand, the country’s aquaculture sector body, will develop an industry marketing development plan in consultation with industry leaders and companies. Its aim is to leverage New Zealand’s unique existing aquaculture species in key markets.

Further familiarisation with markets will be undertaken through attending international conferences and tradeshows.

International sustainability and eco-labelling best practice will also be explored. An industry position regarding its carbon footprint will be established, and potentially a New Zealand quality mark or eco-label developed.

A benchmarking survey of the sector will be carried out, and finally, barriers to market access for existing species will be analysed and addressed.

Pete Hodgson said that subject to targets being met, further funding – up to $6 million of Food and Beverage Taskforce funds – will be available over the next four years, potentially bringing the total aquaculture market development package to $6.5m.

One of the key projects to help grow New Zealand’s food and beverage exports, as outlined in the Government’s response to the Food and Beverage Taskforce, is $19 million of additional funding over four years to expand in-market assistance for New Zealand food and beverage firms.

Under the Taskforce implementation work $6.5m has been dedicated to support the Aquaculture industry’s development over the next four years (budget allocation for this is currently being decided).

A new industry body representing the aquaculture sector, Aquaculture New Zealand (www.aquaculture.org.nz), was launched by the Prime Minister on June 7. Its formation was one of the key steps identified by the sector strategy last year when the goal of reaching $1billion revenue by 2025 was announced.
This market development project is a key component of the government’s response to the industry’s Aquaculture Strategy released in 2006. (http://www.beehive.govt.nz/ViewDocument.aspx?DocumentID=26630 http://www.nzmic.co.nz)

Aquaculture New Zealand will be responsible for ensuring the industry's strategy for growth is successfully implemented over the coming years. NZTE is working with the sector as it develops its international market plan.

Market development will continue to be a fundamental sector focus over the next 20 years. Providing the sector with this assistance over the next four years will act as a catalyst towards its $1 billion goal.

Aquaculture is a key component of the seafood industry - it makes up 20 per cent of New Zealand's total fisheries production value and is the fastest growing food sector in the world, with nearly half the fish consumed worldwide coming from farmed rather than wild catch. The growing trend towards consumers making more health-conscious purchases, and changes in demographics has contributed to increasing demand. As wild catch alone will not be able to meet the demand, fish and shellfish supplies will need to come from aquaculture - resulting in excellent opportunities for the New Zealand industry.


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