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Aquaculture Industry Welcomes Government Funding

New Zealand Aquaculture Council Press Release

Thursday 7 December 2006

Aquaculture Industry Welcomes Government Funding

"The New Zealand aquaculture industry is extremely heartened by the announcement by the Government today of $2.9 million additional funding to support further development of aquaculture" commented Callum McCallum, Chair of the New Zealand Aquaculture Council.

"The industry has a huge potential to deliver significant value to the New Zealand and regional economies but this potential has not been able to be realised to date for a number of legislative reasons," Callum said. The new Aquaculture Law Reform that came into place on 1 January 2005 was designed to deliver more control to regional communities to decide where in their regions aquaculture should best fit. However this also means increased demand on Regional Council resources in order for them to make the appropriate decisions. Callum added "this newly announced Government funding will streamline the process and enable councils to consult with their communities and the industry to identify how and where aquaculture can deliver a real return to those communities."

The funding will serve two main purposes. Firstly it will help implement priority projects such as supporting the process to establish new AMAs, enabling more innovation in the industry and building capability within the Maori sector of the industry. Secondly it will support the capability of regional councils to develop new AMAs by facilitating appropriate information gathering and consultation. Both of these initiatives will be based on partnerships between industry, regional councils, government agencies, other stakeholders and Iwi.

"The industry's recently released Aquaculture Strategy aims to deliver $1billion into the New Zealand economy by 2025. Currently, the value it does deliver to New Zealand significantly supports small rural communities such as Havelock in the Marlborough Sounds and Kaeo in Northland," commented Peter Vitasovich, Chair of the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council. "Aquaculture delivers a whole new burst of vitality into the local Havelock economy and we want to see the aquaculture industry delivering this into other areas of regional New Zealand. The additional funding announced today will enable this to happen."

The NZ Aquaculture Council (Inc) represents the NZ marine farming industry - NZ Abalone Farmers Association Inc, NZ Mussel Industry Council Ltd, NZ Oyster Industry Association Inc and the NZ Salmon Farmers Association Inc - on generic aquaculture issues including property rights, law reform, training, biotoxins and water quality. For 2005, the aquaculture industry's sales were NZ$325 million including exports of $214 million.

Twenty years ago annual sales were NZ$19 million. The Council is working to develop an aquaculture industry which, by 2025, will earn New Zealand annual sales of more than one billion dollars - reflecting the broader species base now steadily being established, industry innovation, supportive Government legislation and allocation of new water space.

ENDS


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