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Council Backs Ambitious Goal To Double Value Of Region’s Aquaculture Exports By 2044

A new aquaculture strategy which sets an ambitious goal to double the Waikato region’s aquaculture exports over the next 20 years to $180 million has received backing from council.

The Strategy and Policy Committee adopted Growing TogetherWhakatupu Ngātahi, a region-wide aquaculture strategy developed by Waikato Regional Council, industry, iwi, and local and central government to create a prosperous, sustainable and resilient future for the sector and the region.

Waikato regional councillor and committee chair Warren Maher said that while ambitious, this was an exciting goal that would help drive the sector’s future growth.

“With industry and stakeholder support we are poised to elevate our standing from being a significant player in New Zealand’s aquaculture industry to one that is world-class.

“This strategy is our blueprint to grow our aquaculture industry, focusing on producing high value seafood while also being mindful of the region’s environment and communities,” said Cr Maher.

While discussing the strategy, councillors also acknowledged the need for the region to consider activities that provide for new value-added products, like seaweed, and the diversification of the industry into new markets.

“The strategy promotes a growth pathway for aquaculture which will look at ways to better use existing farming space and explore opportunities for new sustainable farming, both on land and in the open ocean,” said Cr Maher.

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Accompanying the strategy is a high-level plan identifying key actions and priorities for implementing the strategy.

The council will be an implementation partner alongside the Waikato Regional Aquaculture Group, made up of industry, iwi, Te Waka, and local and central government agencies, who will be responsible for implementing and monitoring the strategy and its outcomes.

At the committee meeting, councillors also decided on the make up of the hearings panel responsible for considering submissions on the Proposed Waikato Regional Coastal Plan which was notified in August 2023.

The panel will comprise two councillors – Warren Maher and Stuart Kneebone – and three independent commissioners to be appointed by the council’s Director of Science, Policy and Information, Tracey May.

Hearings are expected to be held from late 2024 through to early 2025.

© Scoop Media

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