Government backing mussel spat project

  • Hon Shane Jones

The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced.

“This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says.

“The project – Enabling cost-effective nursery feeding and culture for New Zealand’s Greenshell mussel aquaculture industry – will develop an innovative nursery culture system that will foster spat through their most vulnerable stage.

“The industry largely relies on wild-caught spat, which has extremely low survival rates. Less than 5 per cent of wild-caught spat survives after being transferred to mussel farms, forgoing millions in lost production each year. This project aims to grow spat to a robust size before they are transferred.

“Significant areas of consented mussel farming space are vacant, in part due to the spat supply issue. This project will address those spat supply issues which are severely restricting the productivity and growth of the industry in New Zealand.”

The Coalition Government is co-investing $410,000 over three years in the $1.04 million project, which will be led by the Marine Farming Association in partnership with University of Auckland, Coromandel Marine Farmers’ Association, Aquaculture New Zealand, Greenshell Spat Co and Sanford.

“This project could be key to a more sustainable industry and has the potential to lift the sales revenue of our mussels by tens of millions of dollars per year,” Mr Jones says.

The Coalition Government’s aquaculture strategy aims to triple aquaculture sales revenue to $3 billion by 2035. This includes boosting Greenshell mussel earnings to $1 billion per year.

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