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Government Aquaculture Unit Director appointed

Statement from the Ministry of Fisheries for immediate use

26 August
Government Aquaculture Unit Director appointed

Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive Wayne McNee has today announced the appointment of Dan Lees as the Director of the new ‘Aquaculture Unit’.

“The Aquaculture Unit is being established as a separately branded business unit housed within the Ministry of Fisheries as part of the Government’s reform of the aquaculture regime’ Mr McNee said.

The Aquaculture Unit will take the lead on aquaculture across central government in a ‘one stop shop’ working with the aquaculture industry, regional government and all the other groups with an interest in New Zealand’s coastal waters.

Mr Lees says getting a brand new government business unit up and running is going to be a challenge but was also an excellent opportunity.

“Aquaculture is an exciting industry with a lot of untapped potential that could really boost the whole economy” said Mr Lees.

“I am really looking forward to working with marine farmers, iwi, regional government and all the other groups who have an interest in our coastline and fisheries” he said.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley welcomed Mr Lees’ appointment as the first stage in getting the Aquaculture Unit established.

“Establishing the Aquaculture Unit shows the Government is serious about getting the aquaculture industry moving again after years in limbo” Mr Heatley said. “This Unit will lead government engagement with the aquaculture industry”.


Dan Lees has worked for the Ministry of Fisheries since 1999 and has held the positions of Aquaculture Manager and Central Inshore Fisheries Manager.

During this time, Dan has made over two hundred decisions on new aquaculture sites, worked on the development of international standards for wild catch fishing and aquaculture and led a government group tasked with assisting the economic development of the aquaculture industry.

After completing a Bachelors degree (honours) in marine biology and a Masters degree in resource management and conservation in 1996 at Bangor University in the UK, Dan worked for two years as a guide for a number of international trekking companies, mostly in the Himalayas.

Dan has also worked in New Zealand on contract for the Department of Conservation, Tasman District Council and Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society



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