Aquaculture is the cultivation of fish, shellfish or aquatic plants, in natural or controlled marine or fresh-water environments. Shellfish are grown using either suspended long-line rope culture, inter-tidal trays or baskets or on-shore tanks, while fish are grown in sea-cages and on-shore tanks.
Some forecasts suggest that aquaculture will account for 50 percent of global seafood production in the next two decades.
GreenshellTM mussels currently dominate New Zealand’s aquaculture activities followed by King Salmon and Pacific oysters. Paua (abalone) farming for meat and pearl is a growing industry.
The high quality of New Zealand’s coastal waters and the abundance of plankton, along with the prevalence of sheltered harbours and inlets create ideal conditions for shellfish aquaculture.
The Marlborough Sounds is New Zealand’s most important mussel and salmon farming area with other key farm sites located in Golden Bay, the Coromandel, Stewart Island and for oyster, the far North.
You can find out more about GreenshellTM mussels, salmon and paua and their respective farming industries in the Species section.
A strong future
The New Zealand aquaculture industry is worth about 320 million dollars annually with domestic consumption accounting for around 40 percent of sales
There are a number of other species in New Zealand waters that show potential within the aquaculture industry including turbot, kingfish, eels, rock lobster, sea horses, geoduck clams, and some seaweeds and sponges.
New Zealand’s aquaculture production has risen considerably over the past decade and the sector now employs nearly 30 percent of the total seafood industry workforce. It has the potential to provide many more jobs for regional economies and the continued careful management of our unpolluted, plankton-rich coastal waters will be pivotal to this.
New Zealand’s aquaculture products already have a great reputation at home and overseas. But to achieve its full potential the industry must identify and overcome any barriers that might inhibit its growth.
To this end the New Zealand Aquaculture Strategy was commissioned and completed by Aquaculture New Zealand, with assistance from the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council, in 2006. The main reason for developing the strategy is to lay down a structured path for sustainably developing growth of this exciting industry.
The New Zealand Aquaculture Strategy 1.2MB
Establishing and operating a marine farm
A guide to establishing and operating a marine farm in New Zealand has been developed by the New Zealand government. It helps new marine farmers with information regarding the setting up and operation. Read the Marine Farmer Guide »