Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to accelerate the development of aquaculture in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash announced today.
“The PGF will invest in three initiatives which support the overall aquaculture and marine strategy for the Eastern Bay of Plenty,” Shane Jones said
“Aquaculture has a proud history in this part of New Zealand and with central Government support, the region can position itself to take full advantage of future opportunities in this growing and high-value industry.
“We’ll support Whakatohea Mussels Opotiki Ltd with an initial investment of $850,000 to progress further work on a business case for a mussel processing facility. The Government has also agreed, subject to the successful outcome of the business case, to invest up to a further $19 million to support the construction of the on-land mussel processing factory. When fully operational this initiative has the potential to create more than 200 jobs in the region year round.
“The Whakatohea Māori Trust Board will receive up to $950,000 to prepare a business case to accelerate the development of its aquaculture interests and settlement assets. The study will include looking at the potential for a commercial mussel farm and spat catching site including a scientific assessment for a deep sea water farm site.
“Today we are also announcing that the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $750,000 to assist with the development of a business case to progress an affordable Ōpōtiki Harbour plan. This is the first step to transform the harbour into a productive area to support marine farming in the region. We’re committed to working alongside the region to support this important work.
“Aquaculture provides one of the biggest opportunities for the Eastern Bay of Plenty to transform its economy, develop significant employment and improve the region’s standard of living. The Government, through the Provincial Growth Fund, is proud to get in behind these projects,” Shane Jones said.
Stuart Nash says aquaculture presents a compelling opportunity to transform the economic and social potential of our regions.
“We’re committed to investing in the development of these opportunities,” Stuart Nash said.
“Seafood export earnings reached $1.8 billion in the year ended June 2018, up 1.9 percent on the previous year.
“We expect strong prices and increased aquaculture export volumes to boost export earnings to just under $2 billion by 2020.
“Aquaculture is set to be the main driver for the forecast growth, thanks largely to increased mussel harvests, and higher prices as demand continues to grow in key markets,” Stuart Nash said.
Note: Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.