New Zealand's isolated position in the South Pacific Ocean makes it one of the world's finest locations for marine farming. Its pathogen-free aquatic environment and absence of inorganic toxins means that it is one of the few countries in the world where shellfish do not require depuration (purification in clean seawater) prior to processing.

New Zealand's aquaculture sector has grown 5.7 percent year-on-year since 1995, with aquaculture exports earning $309 million in 2011. Today it is worth more than $400 million annually to the New Zealand economy. The industry is based on natural competitive advantages supported by in-depth knowledge, excellent research capability and a spirit of innovation.

Recent reforms are intended to create further major investment opportunities in this sector.

Current research and policy includes:

  • research on the export potential of the sea cucumber (or Stichopus mollis), a sea creature common in New Zealand waters that is popular in Asian cuisine and used medicinally
  • a policy administered by the Ministry of Primary Industries relating to the harvesting and commercial use of Undaria, a type of seaweed similar to kelp and common in Japanese and Korean diets, which is found in most New Zealand ports
  • a recent study of opportunities in NZ aquaculture, which includes a joint industry-Government venture to boost aquaculture by domesticating the NZ Greenshell mussel spat collection and improvement.

Commitment from industry and Government

In New Zealand, aquaculture is already the fastest growing sector of the New Zealand seafood industry and accounts for about 20 percent of all fisheries' sales annually. The industry has set itself a goal of NZ$1 billion annual sales by 2025.

The New Zealand Government is committed to unlocking this potential as part of its Economic Growth Agenda to increase export earnings and create new jobs. The Aquaculture Unit in the Ministry of Fisheries is the Government's main advisor on aquaculture and is responsible for developing and implementing the national Aquaculture Strategy and Action Plan.

The Plan will cover projects to develop new marine areas and species, and will also look broadly into research and innovation, market development, and iwi participation.

Contact the Capital team to discuss current investment opportunities.

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