The National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research (Niwa) has received
a $1.5 million a year grant for six
years to study how to farm new species
Niwa plans to spend the cash from the
Foundation of Research, Science and
Technology to study how to farm
kingfish, groper, kina, lobsters and
"This research will be done in
collaboration with leading industry
partners and developed into viable and
profitable commercial culture," Niwa
principal scientist Andrew Jeffs said in
Niwa expected the research to generate
more than $10 million in new products
each year, with about 80 per cent of
that income coming from exports, Dr
Focusing on five high value species was
deliberately done to reduce reliance on
New Zealand's three main farmed fish
species – greenshell mussels, chinook
salmon and Pacific oysters.
"Aquaculture is New Zealand's fastest
growing rural industry, but the overall
value of our product is only about $1500
a tonne, whereas the value of the
Australian aquaculture product is about
$30,000 a tonne because they culture
higher value species such as tuna and
prawns," Dr Jeffs said.
He estimated finfish farming could
generate up to 800 tonnes of fish per
"This would be worth about $10 million
and would create more than 50 jobs."
Niwa's research facility at Bream Bay,
near Whangarei, was already producing
kingfish, mussels and oysters and would
be the site of New Zealand's largest
paua farm, Dr Jeffs said.
Kina research would be carried out at
Mahanga Bay in Wellington, he said.