$19.95 Million Bounty Hauled Into The Coromandel For Aquaculture - Thanks To The PGF
A $19.95 million investment in the Coromandel’s aquaculture industry, from central government’s Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is a welcome and much-needed boost to our local and national economy.
The money is being used to grow capacity at Te Ariki Tahi, (Sugarloaf Wharf) in Coromandel
Harbour, with the build of an extended, raised wharf platform to account for rising sea levels,
along with four new berths for increased commercial mussel activity and a separate facility with
launching for recreational boats.
"An extended wharf is a vital ingredient for the future growth of the industry, but was beyond
the resources of the local marine farmers. The government investment is a vote of confidence
in our future,” says Stephen Hand, Chairman of the Coromandel Marine Farmers’ Association.
Our Mayor Sandra Goudie hosted Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters in Thames today, for the announcement of what she says is a significant investment in our district.
“Now, more than ever, we will be needing our food producers, particularly in the primary sector,
to carry us forward in these uncertain times,” Mayor Sandra says.
“And this infrastructure build fits well within the government’s investment strategy to
help our economic recovery after COVID-19. We are extremely grateful to the government for
acknowledging the importance of this sector, and the investment into our district,” she says.
The new Sugarloaf wharf will be able to accommodate up to 42,000 tonnes of mussels a year, where historically it has been constrained by lack of capacity. Approximately 90 per cent of the North Island’s Green Shell mussels are loaded over this wharf each year.
Construction will create around 25 new jobs, with mostly local contractors and suppliers used for the project, which will take approximately 18 months to complete. The details of consenting and construction are currently being worked through.
In the long-term, the expansion of the wharf is forecast to create an additional 170 new jobs, with a further 880 jobs in supporting industries.
The Provincial Growth Fund application for redevelopment of Te Ariki Tahi was a joint submission by the Coromandel Marine Farmers and the Thames-Coromandel District Council.
This upgrade has been 20 years in the making, with collaboration between the Coromandel Marine Farmers Association, Thames-Coromandel District Council, the Hauraki Maori Trust Board and Waikato Regional Council.
Iwi own 40 per cent of consented water space in the Hauraki Gulf, with all mussels being landed at Sugarloaf, so this investment will provide greater economic returns for these holdings.
The aquaculture industry is the backbone of many regional economies, including Thames-Coromandel where the sector currently contributes $70 million to the district’s GDP and 350 jobs.
This investment will provide a vital boost to businesses, skilled employment, and the wider aquaculture sector in the North Island - and is timely now more than ever to support our primary food producers and the construction sector.
Providing a safer recreational boating space will bring more domestic visitors to the region and the development of existing (but undeveloped) mussel farming space that this investment will enable, will continue to grow new opportunities such as charter fishing, which is popular in the harbour.