Thursday, November 23, 2017

24/11/2017: A bright future for New Zealand aquaculture

by Peter Parker, International Aquafeed magazine

The 2017 New Zealand Aquaculture Conference was held September 20-21, at the Rutherford Hotel in sunny Nelson, a city on the northern coast of New Zealand’s South Island

The two-day event is held annually and brings together the nation’s aquaculture industry as well as exhibitors and international delegates. Featuring the Cargill EWOS sponsored technical day on the Wednesday, and the New Zealand Aquaculture conference on the Thursday, this event was the perfect opportunity for the industry to network and share ideas towards building a strong and sustainable aquaculture industry for the future. Throughout the event participants were discussing the excellent Sanford sponsored cocktail function which certainly lived up to the hype on the closing hours of the event.

According to Aquaculture New Zealand, the conference’s inspiring speakers, amazing seafood and unparalleled networking opportunities, has it “widely celebrated as New Zealand’s best primary sector conference.”

It is most fitting that Nelson is the scene for this conference, aside from being a beautiful place with great facilities for catering to visitors, it is also one of New Zealand’s key aquacultural hubs with a number of the key aquaculture support organisations being based there; such as Aquaculture New Zealand, the Cawthrone institute, and the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.

The Aquaculture New Zealand organisation was formed in 2007 to be the single voice for the New Zealand aquaculture sector. Where previously, the New Zealand industry was made up of three independent species bodies in the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council, the New Zealand Salmon Famers Association and the New Zealand Oyster Industry Association. Aquaculture New Zealand aims to bring together these memberships.

According to the Aquaculture New Zealand website they are primarily funded through an industry levy, and their chief role is the implementation of the industry strategy which aims to grow the sector to earn NZD$1 billion annually by 2025. A value which was frequently mentioned throughout the conference with passion and optimism.

While in Nelson I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour through the Cawthrone Institute’s aquaculture park by Dr Leo Zamora an aquaculture scientist currently conducting research on geoduck, a large edible clam with potential to be farmed in New Zealand. This was one of many species being studied at the 20 hectare aquaculture park that is equipped with purpose built wet laboratories, intensive algae culture facilities, dry laboratories, and more. The park which was formally opened in February 2011 is protected by Nelson’s boulder bank and is the ideal location for aquaculture research, development and commercialisation.

Cargill EWOS Technical day

Day one saw attendees receive a welcome from Aquaculture New Zealand’s Technical Director Colin Johnston. This was followed by a full on day of 20 presentations across two halls, the majority of which divided into the salmon stream and the diversification & resilience stream.

The presentations covered a wide ranging scope, with an opening plenary featuring Global Aquaculture Alliance’s President Dr George Chamberlain discussing aquaculture’s number one issue globally – biosecurity, sharing with the audience his experiences internationally with biosecurity.

The second plenary speaker was Associate Professor Christopher Burt on strategies to improve employee safety, highlighting the ever present problem across industries that is new employees’ safety and how to address this.

Topics were discussed throughout the day by University professors, research institute scientists, and industry representatives, ranging from ocean acidification, the potential of seaweed, right through to anti-microbial coating and surface additive solutions for the processing stage.

Attendees I spoke to said they had especially enjoyed a block dedicated to research and development, a topic especially relevant to the relatively young industry of aquaculture where innovation is both commonplace and necessary.

David Koedyk of Baldwins Law Limited gave a presentation and answered the audiences in detail on the intricacies of intellectual property law and the processes businesses should aim for. This was followed by presentations on the supply chain, the importance of pre-competitive R&D, and a panel discussion.

The day was closed with the New Zealand Salmon Farmers Association meeting for members and invited guests.

Read the entire show report, HERE.

Visit the Aquaculture NZ website, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by
Perendale Publishers Ltd

For additional daily news from aquaculture around the world: aquaculture-news

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