The Ministry for Primary Industries has today released the results of a survey asking New Zealanders what they think about our aquaculture industry. MPI Acting Director of Aquaculture Growth and Innovation, Alice Marfell-Jones, says the findings are positive.
“The survey has told us that 73% of kiwis have positive views of aquaculture and that an astounding 91% agree New Zealand should look for opportunities to sustainably grow the industry”.
“Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing primary industry globally. New Zealand aquaculture products (NZ Greenshell Mussels, King Salmon and Pacific Oysters) are currently exported to 79 countries around the world and are highly sought after as premium seafood products”, she says.
“Aquaculture provides a tremendous opportunity for New Zealand to generate export earnings through the sustainable production of aquaculture products.”
“In 2012 Cabinet approved an Aquaculture Strategy and Five-Year Action Plan. To support the delivery of this strategy we identified a need to update our knowledge base on public perceptions of aquaculture and the social effects and benefits of aquaculture activities. To this end, MPI commissioned Colmar Brunton to design and undertake a survey so the Government could obtain independent, trustworthy, and statistically robust data.”
“The government is committed to enabling industry to achieve its goal of $1 billion in annual sales by 2025. An essential part of this commitment is to ensure growth takes place within acceptable environmental limits and respects other uses and values of waterways and marine environments. Ongoing community support is vital to achieving this goal”.
Aquaculture New Zealand Chief Executive Gary Hooper said it was encouraging to see the vast majority of New Zealanders supported the industry.
“At the heart of the industry is our people. Marine farmers are hard working contributors to their respective communities. Their kids go to local schools, they source goods and services from local suppliers and they share the same water space and the same environmental concerns as fellow water users. They fish, dive and boat in the waters around the farms. It’s their backyard, their playground, and their legacy to their children and they make sure they protect it. It’s positive to see this contribution to communities and the commitment to sustainability resonating well with New Zealanders.”
Ms Marfell-Jones says that the survey is positive for the sector but that there is still a lot to do.
“This survey is just one element of a wider programme of work MPI is undertaking in partnership with Aquaculture New Zealand.”
“We want to work with communities to improve their understanding about aquaculture, improve the type of information we provide, and how we communicate the effects and benefits of aquaculture activities. This report gives us good insight into how we can begin to do this.”