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ISSUE 39

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

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Virus strikes Pacific oysters

AQUACULTURE CENTRE HAS PLENTY OF POTENTIAL NEW BILL WILL HAVE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT

THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF NEW ZEALAND AQUACULTURE

CONTENTS

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3 4 5 6 8 9 10 12 13 14 15

EDITORIAL NEWS

A look at what's happening in the industry

AQUACULTURE CENTRE A BOOST FOR BAY OF PLENTY

Ahumoana a Toi is well positioned to develop technology

SIGNS POINT TO MARBLED GOBY SUCCESS

Malaysian brothers reveal how they raise a premium species

ACROSS THE DITCH: Finding the optimum temperature

Has the age of fish farming indo ors arrived?

ISSUE 39

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

$5.00

INDUSTRY IS NOTED FOR ITS PASSION

Auditors from the United States say Kiwis stand out

OCEAN LAW: Aquaculture reforms ­ extreme makeover

New bill is lynchpin of big changes within the industry

Virus strikes Pacific oysters

AQUACULTURE CENTRE HAS PLENTY OF POTENTIAL NEW BILL WILL HAVE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT

ARE KOURA AND MULLET A VIABLE POLYCULTURE?

Vince Scully is inspired by his latest harvest

UNKNOWN DISEASE HAMMERING PACIFIC OYSTERS

Up to 80 percent of juveniles are dying on some farms

DESPERATE ACTION NEEDED TO CONSERVE FRESHWATER FISH

Scientists from around the world unite to voice their concerns

THE INDEPENDENT VOICE OF NEW ZEALAND AQUACULTURE

REFORMS WILL ENCOURAGE "SMART GROWTH"

Minister says bill will provide greater certainty for investors

ON THE COVER: Pacific oysters are under threat

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EDITOR: Keith Ingram ASSISTANT EDITOR: Mark Barratt-Boyes MANAGER: Vivienne Ingram ADVERTISING: Hamish Stewart

DESIGNER: Rachel Walker CONTRIBUTORS: Hayley Campbell, Paul Decker, Nick King, Dorothy-Jean McCoubrey, Lauren McKenzie, Andrew Morgan, John Mosig, Michael Pignéguy PRINTER: GEON DISTRIBUTION: By subscription and insertion with Professional Skipper

ISSN 1176-5402 ISSN 1176-8657 (web)

An informative journal for the aquaculture industry Published by: VIP PUBLICATIONS LTD 4 Prince Regent Drive, Half Moon Bay, Manukau 2012 Ph 09 533 4336 Fax 09 533 4337 Email [email protected] [email protected] www.nzaquaculture.co.nz

General: Reproduction of articles and materials published in New Zealand Aquaculture in whole or part, is permitted provided the source and author(s) are acknowledged. However, all photographic material is copyright and written permission to reproduce in any shape or form is required. Contributions of a nature relevant to the aquaculture industry are welcomed and industry participants are especially encouraged to contribute. Articles and information printed in New Zealand Aquaculture do not necessarily reflect the opinions or formal position or the publishers unless otherwise indicated. All material published in New Zealand Aquaculture is done so with all due care as regards to accuracy and factual content, however, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors and omissions which may occur. New Zealand Aquaculture is produced bi-monthly.

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NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

COVER IMAGE: WWW.SEOS-PROJECT.EU

EDITORIAL

Dump "Takutai Moana" bill

BY KEITH INGRAM

ot only will the current review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 by the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill have a significant effect on our aquaculture industry, but contrary to popular belief, it also stands to have an equal effect on the rights of all New Zealanders. While customary rights to our fisheries and forests are preserved, we must recognise the rights and privileges existing under the Treaty of Waitangi for all New Zealanders. It is all very well to continue to interpret the treaty at will to suit one's own needs. Even today we are seeing often outlandish interpretations and claims under article II, with the only significant outcome being that it continues to make lawyers rich. Sadly, the significance of article III is frequently overlooked or ignored. Article III gives lawful authority for pakeha to have a presence in this part of the South Pacific. It gives the rights for Maori to be a part of one nation, New Zealand, and enjoy the benefits of citizenship and the rewards of living in a modern nation. The treaty in its entirety has set our foundation stones, and it is the duty of both Maori and pakeha to act, "reasonably and in good faith towards each other". In reading this bill, are we in all honesty acting reasonably and in good faith towards each other, or are we trying to establish the rights for one sector of our community at the expense of the majority, which will only create division. I recall the great words of the late Dame Whina Cooper: "We are `one people ­ one nation'." Is it not time for the gravy train of treaty claims beyond fisheries and forests to be laid to rest. There must come a time when we all have to accept that the Treaty of Waitangi remains our founding document, one we can all be proud of. But we now run a real risk of abusing it. Our modern, independent state was not based on colonial conquest or the illegitimate invasion of settlers but on an agreement ­ a pact ­ between Maori and pakeha which continues today. This agreement established our continuing links with the Crown and continues to act as a national symbol of unity and understanding between cultures. Yes, there are past grievances on both sides. But is it fair to continue to hold our younger generation responsible for the actions of our fore-fathers? I think not. The injustices of colonial days must be closed off and relegated to the national archives.To not to do so risks establishing a new

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pathway of injustices for the majority of all New Zealanders who cannot be held accountable for the actions of our forebears. The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004, while not perfect, still requires time for understanding and some fine tuning at the edges but not a complete dump, as this bill would propose. Control and ownership of our public spaces of the foreshore and seabed must remain in Crown ownership and control. All New Zealanders should share the benefits of our natural resources, not just a few based on race. We should have learnt from the fallout after the establishment of the Ministry of Fisheries' quota management system, which gave rise to the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement Act. The public paid the price of these errors, not the commercial fishing industry, which gained the benefit. To now propose one small group of New Zealanders should be able to claim greater rights over other national resources at the expense of all New Zealanders is in my view not acting in good faith. Control must remain vested in the Crown. If the government of the day steps out of line, people retain the right to vote them out. It's called the consequences of being accountable and is the basis of our modern democratic society. Other management tools are well provided for within the Resource Management Act, Conservation Act, Marine Reserves Act, Fisheries Act 1996 and the Maritime Transport Act, to name a few. If control is vested to a minority group, as this bill proposes, there will be no safeguards or recourse available to the public, especially if the actions by a few are seen not to be in the best interests of New Zealand. It is of serious concern that any change in the law cannot guarantee public access or utilisation, now or in the future. Already we are seeing charges for access through deceitful practices, whether under the guise of concessions or just in your face pay. The foreshore and seabed is the birthright and common heritage of all New Zealanders. Our beaches, bays and inlets are such an intrinsic part of our culture it is almost impossible to understand how a democratic government could even consider allocating it based on race. This proposed massive transfer of public property rights and national wealth would be very divisive for our nation. It would throw the future of the aquaculture industry into a turmoil.

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THE INDEPE NDENT VOI CE OF

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

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NEWS

SALMON VIRUS DETECTED IN CHILE

The Chilean National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) has confirmed an outbreak of the infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus at a salmon farm in the Magallanes region. The outbreak was reported on November 8. In compliance with bio-safety regulations, the farm owner, Salmones Magallanes, had to remove the contaminated fish. Sernapesca inspectors watched the removal to ensure compliance. Ten active seawater aquaculture centres operate in Magallanes, of which eight contain Atlantic salmon and two contain trout. Sernapesca issued a provision in February establishing joint health management measures in the area and the Chilean Antarctic. In October, legislation was introduced to provide additional restrictions on centres in the affected areas. In addition, Henry Clifford, one of the creators of AquaAdvantage, which aims to produce genetically modified salmon, visited Chile on November 16 to participate in a salmon workshop at the University of Los Lagos, in Puerto Montt. Clifford is vice-president of AquaBounty Technologies, a United States company that created the modified Atlantic salmon, which some critics call the "Frankenfish".

by existing competitors. Sanford and Pacifica farm and process mussels and sell them on the wholesale market. Pacifica, part of the Skeggs Group, focuses primarily on mussels, with some salmon and oyster operations. Sanford has formed a jointventure company to create a single brand to exclusively market mussels into China called Pure New Zealand Greenshell Mussels. "While the majority of these mussels appear to be exported, both Sanford and Pacifica supply their mussels in New Zealand and this New Zealand supply is the focus of the commission's investigation," it said. Sanford had submitted that, after acquisition, a number of competitors supplying mussels, salmon and oysters would be able to expand their operations in the event the merged entity raised its prices. The commission said it would test the accuracy of that submission, investigate who the main competitors were and the nature of the competition. It would also look at how difficult it was to enter the aquaculture industry. Sanford had submitted that recent government initiatives had made it easier to enter the industry, the commission said. It would also look at whether customers would be able to exercise any countervailing power against the combined entity through the threat of switching or any other mechanism.

Amendment Bill (No 3) is expected to result in the creation of more aquaculture space and this has a special significance for Maori, says the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Phil Heatley. Iwi have been entitled to 20 percent of new aquaculture space created since 2005 and the bill requires the mechanism for delivering the Crown's new space obligation to also change. MFish and iwi leaders have appointed a technical group, which has been considering how to deliver the Crown's obligations. "Mechanisms might include provision of space or regional agreements. The latter may comprise space, financial equivalent, a combination of the two or any other resolution agreed to by iwi and the Crown," said Heatley. "It is up to iwi in each region to reach agreement with the Crown on how they would like to receive the settlement under the new regime to maximise economic and social benefits as new marine farming space is created." Heatley said marine farmers would not have to pay to meet the Crown's settlement obligations. The hui took place between December 6 and 17. A Cabinet decision is expected in early 2011. See www.fish.govt.nz

COMMISSION TO FOCUS ON MUSSEL SUPPLY

The Commerce Commission granted clearance on November 11 for Sanford Ltd to acquire the Pacific Seafoods Group. The commission said it was satisified there would be sufficient competitive restraint provided

IWI DISCUSS DELIVERY OF AQUACULTURE SETTLEMENT

Iwi have attended a series of regional hui to discuss how the Crown can deliver its obligations to Maori for new space created by proposed new aquaculture legislation. The new Aquaculture Legislation

TSCOTTISH SALMON PROMOTION IS MISLEADING

Not all negative images about aquaculture originate from environmentalists, says Dr Martin Jaffa, the principal of the British aquaculture marketing consultancy Callander McDowell. He was referring to a sign in a Scottish supermarket which read: "Our Loch Duart salmon comes from an award-winning farm on the northwestern coast of Scotland, where the fish have more room to grow and more natural feed ­ for a better taste". The sign also said the product complied with Freedom Food standards. Dr Jaffa said the message confused consumers and was ambiguous. "Do the fish have more room to grow because they are raised at a farm on the isolated northwestern coast of Scotland, or rather, they are raised in accordance to standards laid down by Freedom Food. "If it is the second, then these salmon are no different to the other salmon sold by the supermarket, as they are accredited by Freedom Food as well." The phrase "a more natural feed" was largely meaningless, Dr Jaffa said. He doubted if consumers would notice any difference in taste between Loch Duart salmon and other farmed salmon brands. "But of course, taste is a very personal thing. In our opinion, there is little to distinguish this message from that emanating from the environmental lobby. Neither advances the interests of the Scottish salmon industry."

OPP FUN AT MUSSEL FESTIVAL

The Topp Twins, The Beat Girls and other New Zealand favourites are sure to make The Havelock Mussel Festival on March 19 another resounding success. The festival, held at the Havelock Domain, ensures local community groups benefit by up to $25,000 each year. Now in its seventh year, the festival has become a national event, drawing over 6000 visitors to the idyllic South Island town. The organisers say pre-booked tickets this year are significantly cheaper than at the gate. Other fun events include the NIWA Kidzone, celebrity cooks, mussel-related competitions, water displays, food, wine and beer stalls, jewellery and craft stalls. See www.havelockmusselfestival.co.nz

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NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

Aquaculture centre a boost for the BAY OF PLENTY

BY ANDREW MORGAN

he Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's new aquaculture centre, which opened on October 29, is the result of a year of planning and concept development followed by two years of construction, all totally internally funded. Ahumoana a Toi will specialise in recirculation technology and production research. It can carry out teaching, research and development in aquaculture production, aquatic biology and related environmental science. Water and tank systems are already filled to capacity and the institute is hoping stakeholder partnerships in production research will allow further expansion to meet clients' needs. Approximately 80 people attended the opening, which began with a Maori welcome. They included representatives from NIWA, the Cawthron Institute, Seafood Innovations, Priority One and the University of Waikato, Te Wharae wananga o Awanui Arangi, Environment Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Eastern Seafarms and Whakatohea, and AquaHort. The Minister of Aquaculture and Fisheries, Phil Heatley, who officially opened the centre, spoke about legislative reforms currently underway to assist in establishing aquaculture as a major contributor to the economy in the future. The government recognised aquaculture as a key contributor to the economy in the primary production sector into the future, he said. The new government aquaculture unit, which was dedicated to supporting the future development of aquaculture, demonstrated that commitment. Heatley highlighted the growing need globally to "feed China" and the role environmentally sustainable seafood production had to play in that. "Nothing is more sensitive to water quality than an oyster," he said. The chief executive of the polytechnic, Dr Alan Hampton, spoke about the development of the national and regional aquaculture strategy and how pro-active the Bay of Plenty had been in building a vision to help achieve a billion-dollar industry by 2025. Hampton also spoke about how the polytechnic's marine programme, which has now existed for 19 years, had culminated in the development of the aquaculture centre. The centre was an important contributor toward building the industry in the bay and nationally into the future. This included building

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The Minister of Fisheries, Phil Heatley, outlines the importance of aquaculture to New Zealand's future environmentally sustainable economic growth

Dr Andrew Morgan explains the virtues of the humble sea cucumber, its culture and value to China to the Minister of Fisheries, Phil Heatley

partnerships with stakeholders to achieve this. Guests then toured the centre before enjoying hospitality and networking hosted by the polytechnic.Various companies, including Akaroa Salmon, Clearwater Crayfish, North Island Mussel Processors, Whangamata Seafoods, Sanfords and Huka Prawn Park provided seafood for the event. In a speech at the social function, the head of the School of Applied Science, Dr Tim Lowe, outlined the significant contribution key team members had made in developing the aquaculture centre. They included Dean Tully, Daniel Sharp and Dr Andrew Morgan, with assistance from John Seccombe of Aquahort Ltd and more recently Dr Simon Muncaster, Dave Guccione and Paul Warren. Dr Lowe outlined the roll of the institute's leading researchers in underpinning the sustainable future of the new centre and its success through stakeholder partnerships and funding in production research. Recent developments in the Bay of Plenty region helped make the centre a reality. This includes the development of sea cucumber farming, both on and offshore, fish farming in the bay and the potential for an eel aquaculture industry. Moving into the future, other species such as soft-shelled crabs and sea urchins (kina) are also options for the new centre and the wider bay area as client needs arise. The polytechnic's involvement with stakeholders has already seen the new centre establish a breeding programme for sea cucumbers, led by its key commercial production research scientists. The centre is also working to establish a finfish breeding programme with stakeholders alongside sea cucumber production. An Oriental Ocean delegation from China visited the polytechnic during their trip to New Zealand to discuss investing in sea cucumber farming and other seafood production, including mussels. Ahumoana a Toi is well positioned to develop intensive production technology alongside undergraduate teaching, student projects and post-graduate teaching and research in aquaculture, aquatic biology and relevant environmental science in partnership with the industry.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

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The broodstock holding facility

Three-month old juveniles ready for growout

Signs point to MARBLED GOBY SUCCESS

BY JOHN MOSIG

arbled goby (Oxyeleotris marmoratus) is one of the most valued fish on the aquaculture pantheon. It is prized, particularly in Chinese cuisine, for its sweet, delicate flesh and the price is kept high because of the challenges associated with growing this premium species. Marbled goby are difficult to wean onto pellets and are slowgrowing in comparison to other commercial species. To top it off, it has been difficult to produce the numbers of specific pathogen-free (SPF) fry the market demands. These challenges are being taken up by a small, private hatchery in an industrial estate in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Aquacliq is operated by Eric Lim Kai Siang and his small band of committed and highly skilled staff. Eric started off in his brother's garage. After convincing himself he could condition broodstock and raise the juveniles, the two brothers decided to put the technology to use in a commercial venture. They have been able to close the breeding cycle on this lethargic ambush predator and hock, as the local Chinese communities in Malaysia call the fish, is now bred throughout the year in their multi-level establishment.

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ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Eric had realised the hatchery and nursery stages would have to take place indoors to produce marbled goby seed stock efficiently. This gave maximum control over husbandry, water quality management and environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, predation and attrition. He also recognised the disadvantages that came with this. While a recirculation aquaculture system is great for controlling over the stability and balance of the operating system, it took a lot of experience and expertise to make sure it worked efficiently. "There's a higher initial cost and a higher degree of technical expertise required," Eric said. "We're conditioning the broodstock, taking the larvae through metamorphosis to fry and weaning them onto a pellet. There's a lot of patience involved, a lot of skill, a lot of training and scientific understanding and a great deal of dedication." Currently, the main source of seed stock for the industry is from pond-reared juveniles. Teams of broodstock are left to their own devices and the surviving juveniles are periodically collected from the ponds, transferred to growout ponds and fed. It is nearly impossible to monitor food up-take and consequently

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growth rates are haphazard. Predation and attrition rates are high and production targets are a matter of pot luck. Aquacliq has removed those variables. By establishing a controlled and stable environment, Eric has been able to meet the three challenges he gave himself when he set out. They are able to spawn each month on the lunar cycle, hatch the eggs, raise larvae through metamorphosis to fry and wean the fry onto a dry feed. They have improved growth rates by getting them onto a balanced, species-specific diet and training the juvenile fish to feed more regularly. The indoor system also allows him greater flexibility of management. Incoming broodstock from the wild can carry a range of pathogens and fish health is always an issue. They are treated for anchor worm (Lernia), gill fluke (Dactylogyrus), branchiora (Argulu) and protozoans such Trichodina, Epistylus, Myxozoan and Tetrahymena. Saprolegnia fungus is ubiquitous and preventing it from infesting the hatchery fish is ongoing. These are all issues with growing fish in open pond systems and are particularly difficult to deal with once they take hold. Eric said this was another reason for growing indoors. He dips the incoming broodstock into a full salinity bath for 10 minutes, dips them in Neguvon three times and quarantines them for a fortnight. Ease of handling also allows the crew to grade regularly. This enables them to keep each cohort evenly sized, which in turn eliminates the natural attrition found among pond-reared fry and fingerlings. Eric says he always makes sure they are well fed. This also reduces the tendency towards cannibalism and makes sure they are maximising their genetic growth potential.

CONDITIONING AND SELECTING BROODSTOCK

Broodstock are fed a range of rations. Squid, trash fish and a formulated wet ration are all used to give the broodstock some variety and keep their appetite sharp. The wet ration is formulated by Aquacliq to keep the broodstock in a forward breeding condition. The broodstock are conditioned in 1000 litre tanks. Housing is provided by open-mesh extruded plastic cylinders. Eric says this makes for a cleaner environment, as the solid plastic habitat was difficult to keep clean.

NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

An open broodstock habitat reduces bacteria levels

Goh Chee Shiun checks juvenile fish

Gender identification is simple. Both genders have a small protuberance (urogenital papilla) behind the vent. In males it is long and round, in females it is a round and tubular. When the female's vent becomes swollen and inflamed it is a signal she is ready to spawn. A male is chosen based on the motility of the spermatozoa. They don't check the eggs' development stage. However, they can observe from the female fish's papilla, once the papilla turn to a red colour, that she is already mature and ready for hormone inducement. Both sexes are injected with a hormone to trigger ovulation and spawning activity. The females receive 1000iu/kg and the males half that. The range of hormones used includes HCG, Ovaprim, PG and LHRa. The spawning tank has a slab sitting on two bricks. This substrate structure enables the female to lay her adhesive eggs on the underside of a structure. The induced pair is placed in the spawning tank and courtship can take from two to 24 hours, depending on the development stage of the eggs at inducement. After the male fertilises the eggs he guards them during incubation. At 28-29° Celsius, most hatching has occurred by 71 hours. Eric says the chances of survival of larvae that hatch after that are not great. More than 90 percent usually hatch inside that time. They swim vertically with their heads pointing down in the water column until their swim bladders inflate. In fact, they stay in the water column until they are fully developed at day 35. Marbled goby can take up to 120 hours to hatch at lower temperatures. The optimum hatching time is 71 hours and this is also an optimum incubation time. Incubation of 120 hours is considered a late hatching, although the larvae can survive. Staff observe the eye development become darker and the yolk sac has been fully utilised before it hatches out from the eggs. The larvae are in an advanced form and feeding has to commence immediately. They find weaning onto live food is easier if the larvae have time to acclimatise to their surroundings while still on their yolk sacs.

handle it easily. The dry diet is continued at the same time, and by two to three months the juveniles are 25mm and fully weaned onto a dry diet of 2mm pellets.At this stage they are sold to the growout farms, both pond and farmers with recirculating aquaculture systems.

GROWTH RATES AND FECUNDITY

Fry held back at the hatchery and fed under their watchful eye are 125mm by six months. It takes the weaned juveniles two years to reach a kilo on the farms. Eric says different strains have evolved because of the isolated nature of the marbled goby's habitat. The strains from Sabah are proving to be faster growing and more suitable to aquaculture. Fecundity is high. They are serial breeders and a spent pair will be ready to spawn again a fortnight after incubating their previous brood. They will spawn 117,000 eggs per kilo of body weight (117 eggs/g). However, as evidence of why marbled goby is so expensive, survival after three months in the hatchery is around 10 percent. When Aquacliq took over the abandoned factory two years ago it had been completely gutted, including light fittings and taps. Although this had a replacement cost, it enabled Eric to build the hatchery over the four floors to his own specifications. Kuala Lumpur tapwater is delivered to the top floor, where it is conditioned. There are two delivery lines ­ one for salt water and one for fresh water. The water gravitates from the conditioning tanks to the floors below, where broodstock conditioning, spawning and juvenile rearing takes place. The ground floor is used for storage. An assortment of tanks and aquaria are used, and each step in the process is isolated with its own bio-filtering system and bacteria and fungal control mechanisms. Aquacliq has set a production target of 50,000 juveniles a month and is already up to 10,000. Broodstock is a constant problem. Eric likes to use young broodstock, as he has found them more productive. However, when the growout farmers get the fish up to 300g they are reluctant to sell them, as they only have to double their size to reach the market target of 600g, when they are worth RM190 per kilo, or about US$56. Aquacliq is an example of what can be achieved with observation, thoroughness and not a little courage. It is difficult not to feel the tranquillity and harmony in the building as Eric's staff go about their business. The success didn't happen overnight, and it didn't happen without a great deal of patience and trial and error. Two signs on the wall sum up Aquacliq's philosophy. "Prevention is better and cheaper than cure" and "Look after the water and the fish look after themselves". No truer words have ever been spoken in aquaculture. There is no doubt the signs have played a role in the major technological breakthrough Eric and his dedicated

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

FEEDING

The yolk sack lasts for three days and swim bladder inflation occurs on day four. A phytoplankton bloom is induced in the tank and enriched rotifers are introduced. Artemia feeding runs from day 20 through to day 30. Moina are fed from day 30 to day 55. By day 40 they are fully developed juveniles and have settled. Survival can be up to 80 percent and the fry are approximately 12mm long and ready for the weaning process. They start the weaning process with a micro-diet ­ 250µm ­ on day 30 while they are still on artemia. The dry feed is introduced gradually and weaning success is universal. Eric introduces a wet diet they manufacture at the hatchery to Aquacliq's own formula, along with tubifex and bloodworms. The wet diet is extruded in 1mm strips so the young fish can

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ACROSS THE DITCH

Finding the optimum TEMPERATURE

BY JOHN MOSIG

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'day there, Kiwi. Still dripping off the trees? Hey, it never rains but it pours. Our drought has finally broken in the east. Ten-yearold frogs have had to learn how to swim. Reservoirs have gone from close to empty to over 50 percent full. Up in the northeast, the wet has started three months early. She's dry over in the west now but that's the way it goes over here. Which wouldn't be a bad place to start a train of thought. One of the major influences in aquaculture is the environment. Fish, with the odd exception of tuna and some shark species, are cold-blooded animals. Without going into the advantages and disadvantages of this trait in a survival sense, let's look at it from the aquaculturists' perspective. It would appear various species have an optimum temperature range of around 8° Celsius. Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), for instance, perform best between 10° and 18°. Silver perch, (Bidyanus bidyanus) on the other hand, start hitting the feed seriously at 20° and taper off at 28°. Once they pass the upper end of their preferred temperature range their metabolism drops away rapidly. By 30°, silvers have all but lost interest in tucker and by 31° they are showing signs of lethargy. By 33° they're stressed out in the artificial conditions of a fish farm and 24-hour aeration is needed to keep them horizontal in the water. At the other end of the scale, they still go off the tooth below 20°, but at least they ride it out quite well, and certainly down to 8-10°. You don't have to be Einstein to work out that the more the water temperature falls in "the zone", the more performance the farmer is going to get out of his stock. The reason I mention this is because it raises the question: in these uncertain climatic times, how far away are we from farming our seafood under controlled conditions? How far away from economic viability is the much maligned re-circulation technology in temperature-controlled sheds? This is more widespread than you think, actually. This season, mango growers in Far North Queensland found they had the poorest fruit set on record. The price of mangoes is going to go through the roof this summer. A few growers will cash in, but most will be living off their fat. Everyone who's farmed fish or seafood seriously has suffered from late or early seasons. Now that unseasonal conditions are becoming the norm, is the cost of

Controlling production maintains a reliable supply to market

"normalising" the seasons the way to go? The science of re-circulation technology is well understood and the engineering has been streamlined. The outcome is a more commercial set of costing criteria. Many early systems were spawned in the sewerage treatment industry and seemed to focus on getting the science right. In quite a few cases they overlooked the aquaculture industry's need to keep production costs to a minimum. This is not now the case.The cost of operating the systems has been reduced considerably without compromising efficiency, quite the opposite. The systems are more efficient than ever. I can remember not all that long ago when an international company was farming barramundi on a large scale in sea cages in the Tiwi Islands, just off the coast of Darwin. They were churning them out at a great rate and slamming the capital city markets with product. The re-circulation growers down south who thought they had a freight advantage were bleating as they shaved margins to compete. Then a great storm wrecked the floating cages.The company tried to rebuild but the loss was too great and they folded their tents and moved on. The re-circulation farms are still going stronger than ever. I can also remember when rainbow trout growers diverting water from stream flows through their ponds had the cheapest and most reliable production systems available. Sure, there were times when they found the water was too cold to gain much growth in the winter, but it didn't cost them a lot to hold the farm together. And there were times when they had to stop feeding in the summer when heat waves triggered water temperature peaks. But overall they were just day-to-day management risks. Now, with summer heat waves coming through with scary regularity, they run aeration on most farms for the whole summer, and there wouldn't be too many that haven't buried an unhealthy number of fish. The worst aspect is felt in the marketplace, where the product is sold every day. The urban consumer is not interested in farmers' hard luck stories. The image persists here of the farmer living off the fat of the land and enjoying a leisurely lifestyle. If the product ain't on the shelf it goes off the menu. Everywhere I look, cheap production methods are disappearing fast. Maybe some species will always be farmed in an open situation. Maybe it's just us over here on a continental landmass who are going to be the victims of shifting climatic influences. Maybe your maritime climate will save you from the worst of it. But the advantages of having maximum control over optimum environmental and water quality conditions is becoming a huge advantage in fish production, especially where markets need to be topped up with fresh produce each day or so. With winters getting colder and summers getting hotter, as well as both taking turns to be the dominant season at irregular intervals, getting fish to the market on time and in good condition is becoming an increasing challenge. We farm our pigs and poultry in temperature-controlled sheds. Has the age of indoor fish farming arrived?

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NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

Industry is noted FOR ITS PASSION

BY DOROTHY-JEAN MCCOUBREY

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he passion of all those involved in New Zealand's shellfish programme makes a discernible difference between New Zealand and other countries," said David Wiggins, the shellfish specialist of the United States' Food and Drug Administration during a visit to New Zealand in October. Wiggins, along with another senior member of the FDA's shellfish programme, Paul DiStefano, was here to audit the commercial shellfish programme. The historical reason for these audits is to give the FDA food safety confidence in shellfish shipped to the United States. This year the audit scope was wider, reviewing the "comparability" of all New Zealand's food regulations and safety programmes so consideration can be given to easier trade for all food between the two countries ­ a bit like a "food free trade" agreement. This meant legislation, inspection programmes, laboratory systems and industry systems were all under the microscope. New Zealand's shellfish growing area regulations, although similar to those used by the United States and the European Union, have been adapted to fit the unique features of our aquaculture industry and geographical environment. The result is that when commercial harvesting occurs, the water is not polluted by land or marine activities. The 2010 audit mainly focused on the Marlborough and Coromandel regions because of their major Greenshell mussel and Pacific oyster production. Coromandel has been a significant harvesting area for a long time now, starting out with a government-owned demonstration oyster farm in the 1960s. I asked two people involved with the Coromandel programme to tell me more about the audit and how things went for them. Nicole Petersen is probably the newest and youngest person involved in the shellfish programme. She was employed in 2009 as a technical officer with the Waikato District Health Board and is being trained by veteran health officer David Cumming in all aspects of shellfish sanitation. "The FDA audit was primarily about demonstrating we have effective systems in place with the New Zealand Food Safety Authority and our shellfish programme is consistent with the rest of New Zealand," Nicole told me. During the audit we demonstrated this with our manuals, reporting and training systems. "We also showed them how we apply the regulations to our field work." This included a shoreline survey, a visit to a waste water treatment plant, a growing area visit and an inspection up a river which impacts a growing area to identify any potential pollution sources. Nicole says she and David were well prepared for the visit and were able to answer any relevant questions. Nicole excitedly tells me she is really enjoying the challenges and variety of the shellfish work. She is finding with shellfish you never stop learning and the visit from the FDA was a wonderful new experience for her. On the other hand,Vince Syddall has much more know-

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how as the respected, long-term operations manager for Pacific Marine Farms, which operates farms in Coromandel and Northland. Over the years he has experienced the eagle eyes of many auditors and realises the importance of such international audits to secure international trade opportunities. "This year our audit focused on relay and growing areas and the FDA was particularly interested in our documentation and systems," said Vince. "There were no major issues but a few little things needed updating. The whole process only took a few hours and the Americans were very knowledgeable and a pleasure to deal with, which you cannot say about all auditors." The outcome of the 2010 shellfish growing audit was very successful, thanks to all of those involved in the programme. It takes a team effort to ensure success and many individuals play important parts; sampling officers, regulatory staff, farmers and harvesters who battle the climate and marine conditions, and the processors who ensure safe and delectable products reach the consumer. Both Wiggins and DiStefano told me they have audited commercial shellfish areas in many countries but have never experienced the passion they found among the many New Zealand people they interviewed. They believe this passion and commitment to always achieve the best means New Zealand is special and makes us stand out. It was great to hear such praise and be reminded of what makes a Kiwi extraordinary, especially in today's environment, when economic challenges and other industry pressures can absorb all our attention. We must take care to never lose this spirit, as it makes us unique when we compete in the global seafood arena.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

9

OCEAN LAW

Aquaculture reforms ­ EXTREME MAKEOVER

BY HAYLEY CAMPBELL AND JUSTINE INNES

lmost exactly one year on from the release of the report of the Aquaculture Technical Advisory Group, the Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No.3) has been introduced into parliament. The bill gives effect to most, though not all, of the advisory group's recommendations. Other recommendations, including the appointment of a minister with overall responsibility for aquaculture (the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture) and the establishment of an aquaculture unit within the Ministry of Fisheries, had already been given effect, and the development of a national aquaculture strategy and action plan are understood to be underway. The bill, however, is the lynchpin of the reforms. Its purpose is described as being: "to provide an efficient legislative and regulatory framework that enables the sustainable development of aquaculture within the coastal marine area". Whether it does so more successfully than the equally well-intentioned 2004 reform remains to be seen. However, it could be said that it would be difficult for it to be less successful than that failed experiment.

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APPLICANTS WISHING TO ESTABLISH NEW MARINE FARMS CAN APPLY DIRECTLY FOR A RESOURCE CONSENT

The bill is divided into four parts, linked to the four separate pieces of legislation it will amend. Starting at the end, part four of the bill contains the most significant reforms and sets the foundation for much of the rest of the bill. Part four contains amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA) to streamline aquaculture planning and consents by removing the prohibition on aquaculture outside aquaculture management areas, or AMAs. In fact it removes all references to AMAs themselves. Applicants wishing to establish new marine farms (or extend the footprint of an existing farm) can apply directly for a resource consent in any part of the coastal marine area, subject of course to the provisions of the relevant regional coastal plan, as councils will still be able to identify areas in their plans where aquaculture activities cannot occur. Applications for new marine farms will be possible from the day the new law comes into effect.

Under the bill, most consents will be issued for 20 to 35 years, creating greater certainty for the industry and other stakeholders, and providing more incentive for marine farmers to invest in applying for a consent. Unused aquaculture consents will lapse after three years (down from five years) in an effort to ensure consented space is actually used and not tied up by speculators or for other reasons. Although the law will not go as far as providing for perpetual or renewable consents for marine farming, the process for applying for a consent to continue an existing aquaculture activity will be simpler and less costly. Applicants seeking a new consent for an existing activity will only need to provide information on environmental effects, where these have changed since the original consent was granted. The minister responsible for aquaculture will be able to take a more active role in aquaculture planning by amending aquaculture-related provisions in regional coastal plans, where the change is of national or regional significance. The amended provisions would be subject to the other provisions of the RMA and applications for individual marine farms would still need to be made in the normal way. While interesting in their potential, all indications from the government are that it is very unlikely these provisions will be used often, if at all. Some provisions in the Tasman and Waikato regional coastal plans will change as soon as the legislation is passed. These changes will mean applications can be made to farm a wider range of species in existing aquaculture space than is possible at present. In addition, existing Waikato marine farmers will be able to apply for small extensions to their farms. Consent applications under these new rules will still be subject to the normal RMA approval processes. The undue adverse effects on fishing (UAE) test will revert to being undertaken on a consent-by-consent basis, rather than forming part of the planning process of AMAs. Notification to MFish of all applications received for aquaculture consents will enable the ministry to make an early assessment of what information will be required for the UAE test and seek any additional information if necessary. The bulk of the provisions governing the conduct of the UAE test are found in part two of the bill. The bill provides for regional councils to move outside the usual "first come, first served" regime for considering consent applications where a council is of the view that

14 New St, Nelson. PO Box 921, Nelson 7040. T +64 3 548 4136. F +64 3 548 4195. Freephone 0800 Oceanlaw. Email [email protected] www.oceanlaw.co.nz

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NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

other measures are required in order to manage high or competing demand. Councils will be able to include methods in regional plans for allocating the right to apply for space, or to request that the Minister of Aquaculture suspends the right to apply for consents for aquaculture activities for up to one year, where the council believes provisions in its regional coastal plan are inadequate to deal with the demand for coastal space. Part one of the bill contains proposed amendments to the Aquaculture Reform Repeals and Transitional Provisions Act 2004. These amendments will transition all existing marine farms into the new regime, with no loss of rights or certainty. Particular transitional provisions relate to the interim AMAs found in the Tasman and Waikato regions, allowing these to continue on their way to becoming operational without being impacted on by the new regime. An additional amendment provides for the councils in these regions to uphold agreements for implementing the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement negotiated between iwi and/or the trustee and aquaculture interests on the 20 percent of space to be allocated to iwi. There are still more than 60 outstanding consent applications that are either progressing slowly under the pre-2004 law or are effectively "frozen" under the current 2004 law. The bill allows processing of applications notified before November 28, 2001 (pre-moratorium applications) to be completed, though it brings them under the proposed new UAE regime, including allowing applicants to negotiate aquaculture agreements, meaning applications assessed as having a UAE on commercial fishing will not automatically be declined. Under the bill, "frozen" applications (which were lodged but not notified before the moratorium in 2001) for space located within interim AMAs (ie, in Tasman or Waikato) will be able to proceed once the interim AMA is completed. Applications outside interim AMAs can proceed, unless they are in areas where aquaculture is prohibited by a regional coastal plan. Applications in prohibited areas will be cancelled on December 31, 2014, unless the prohibition has been lifted through a plan change before that date. Part two of the bill contains amendments to the Fisheries Act 1996 aimed at streamlining the UAE test and integrating it with RMA consent processes. The key change, following the removal of the requirement that aquaculture can only take place in AMAs, is that the UAE test is to be undertaken in respect of individual coastal permits issued under the RMA. The option of appealing a UAE decision to the High Court will be removed, so UAE decisions can only be judicially reviewed, with applications for review having to be made within 15 working days of the notification of the decision. The bill proposes that aquaculture decisions must be made within 20 working days of the chief executive of MFish receiving a request from the regional council about a specific coastal permit. While this suggests a far more compressed time frame than has applied in the past, there is provision for the ministry to effectively "stop the clock" while it seeks information from the public, the regional council or the applicant. One significant change made to the UAE regime by the bill is that applicants will be able to reach an agreement with quota holders before an aquaculture decision (on the UAE test) is made. If such an agreement is registered

in respect of any stock in the quota management system, the impact of that aquaculture application on that stock will be excluded from the UAE test. Agreements can be registered and will be binding on all quota holders, once the agreement of 75 percent of all quota holdings for a stock are obtained (at present 90 percent agreement is required), with quota owners who have not agreed being entitled to the same benefits as those who did. Part three of the bill contains proposed amendments to the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act 2004 (the Settlement Act) to ensure the Crown's settlement obligations can be delivered under the new law. The Settlement Act provides iwi with an entitlement to 20 percent of the new aquaculture space created in each

THE BILL PROVIDES FOR REGIONAL COUNCILS TO MOVE OUTSIDE THE USUAL "FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED" REGIME FOR CONSIDERING CONSENT

region after January 1, 2005, but is currently tied to the creation of AMAs. The bill retains that entitlement in principle, but its provisions in this respect have been described by the minister as "place holders" and the bill's explanatory note refers to them operating "pending development of an alternative mechanism that might better fit the new aquaculture regime". MFish is currently engaging with iwi on developing such a mechanism, and iwi and the wider industry must share a frustration that this did not occur before the bill was introduced. The bill has been referred to the Primary Production Select Committee, which has called for submissions by February 11, 2011 and is due to report back to parliament before the end of April. Clearly, the government is committed to having the new legislation pass before the 2011 election. Hayley Campbell is a solicitor at Oceanlaw, where she works on a range of aquaculture, maritime and fisheries issues. As well as her law degree, she has a Bachelor of Science with a double major in marine biology, ecology and biodiversity.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

11

Are koura and mullet A VIABLE POLYCULTURE?

BY VINCE SCULLY

e are inspired by our koura harvest. We drained a pond and collected 250kg of koura, or 2.5 tonnes per hectare. The world's maximum yield is five tonnes/ha. I feel our efforts are reasonable but I would like to do better. Hence I have since re-read The Australian Yabby Farmer by John Mosig again. This excellent book is 12 years old and refers to another species. Mosig refers to flow traps to gather yabbies while draining a pond. In my recent experience, flow traps generally don't work with koura. Yabbies will travel upstream into flow traps when draining a pond. In our drained pond, the koura mostly travelled downstream and gathered around the exit pipe. Therefore, our efforts as growers are guided by interpreting slightly dated data on another species with behavioural differences. Until we get research and development published for koura growers, our valuable, carbon-neutral, sustainable, renewable and non-polluting industry operates on the "suck it and see" principle. Maybe one day a politician might realise here is an environmental and valuable industry that could be promoted to keep him, or her, in a job. I would also like to branch out and culture mullet as a polyculture with koura. Mullet are regarded as a bait fish by some who live on the Kauri Coast. Let's examine that. Mullet aquaculture world-wide is an established and indeed ancient industry for both its roe and as an omega 3 fish. So, what are the arguments of some on the Kauri Coast, a marketing name for a timber resource that was exploited until it was virtually gone. How clever is that? I say it doesn't matter what some Kauri Coasters think. We need a mainstream diet of omega 3 fish. It is important for our good health. This is my business plan for mullet. Mackerel, another omega 3 fish, caught at sea on trawlers, is bought for 75 cents to $1 per kilo. It is sold in 200gm packs either as a value-added product or simply smoked, for $6-8. That's $30-40 per kilo, or a mark-up of 3000 percent. I think mullet could compete with that. I could go to the recycling centre and think what I could use as a smoker, then see

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my rural drinking partner over the fence for some of his manuka firewood. After I comply with a few Occupational Safety and Health regulations I could start selling at the well-supported local farmers' market. Some cultured fish species are carnivorous and depend on the wild fish resource as their diet. Inevitably, these practices will be criticised for being unsustainable and unethical. Mullet have a wide-ranging herbivorous diet and hence are regarded as being of some bio-remediation value. While growers of carnivorous fish depend on the cost of a diminishing resource, we would feed our mullet on duckweed. Duckweed blooming on our ponds is a problem for us. It sucks up nutrients in the water and loads the biomass. We need to get rid of it. It is a tedious, regular chore we could thankfully do without. If we had mullet in our ponds we would turn a problem into a profit. I have trialled mullet fry in our grow-out ponds in Kaikoura in winter. I observed them still, with the water temperature dropping, at six degrees Celsius. It was a hard winter and the mullet fry did not last, but I could winter them over in a tank in the old woolshed. Perhaps this is a new use for remaindered plant. Mullet, a fertile fish, only spawn at sea, and the fry retreat to the shallows to feed. In some countries they are then gathered to culture. This is controversial, as it is competing with the wild resource, and as we have learned there are good years and bad years. We went to the Kauri Coast to collect mullet fry from an estuary farmer, one of our few legitimate sources, who gave us a lecture on mullet being the value of cat food and only a dozen fry, as they didn't come in that year. My wish is that mullet are hormonally induced in New Zealand and are available to supply growers. One fish scientist I know said mullet are a hard species to induce. Well, we split the atom and Taiwan first hormonally induced mullet 50 years ago. If that politician is still reading, I would like to ask: please throw some money at hormonally inducing mullet. And please give us koura farmers some funds for research and development. By following sound principles of aquaculture, us growers can do it. How about helping our non-polluting industry generate wealth?

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NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

Virus devastating PACIFIC OYSTERS

illions of juvenile Pacific oysters are dying on farms in the upper North Island from the effects of the virus ostreid herpesvirus-1, or OsHV-1. Scientists from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said on December 8 they had found OsHV-1 in oyster samples from affected farming areas. Aquatic disease specialists took approximately 250 samples for analysis. Some farms had reported that 80 percent of their juvenile oysters have died, compared with five to 10 percent in a normal year, said New Zealand Oyster Industry Association executive Tom Hollings. "It's devastating for the oyster industry." Overall, about half the crop had died over November and early December. Farmers may have to reduce staff numbers and some could even consider shutting down, Hollings said. Pacific oysters are a $30 million industry in New Zealand. The annual harvest is about 3.5 million dozen oysters, or about 2800 tonnes, and most are exported, mainly to Australia and Asia. MAF response manager Dr Richard Norman said the virus could not be transmitted to humans, so there was no health risk from the disease. It was a completely different herpes virus to those found in reptiles, birds and mammals, Norman said. Sharp changes to water temperature could also have contributed to the dieback. New Zealand's Bluff oysters tested negative for the disease. Ostreid herpes viruses affect not only oysters but also clams, scallops and other molluscs. French scientists said global warming could explain the appearance of this particular type of the virus. The virus has wiped out stocks in France in recent years and Britain has declared a containment area on the Thames and the coast of northern Kent. In 2008, France's main marine research institute, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, or Ifremer, set up a crisis team which found 40 percent to 100 percent of oysters aged 12 to 18 months are dying from the oyster herpes. Animal health experts at the European Food Safety Authority are assessing the extent to which a combination

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of "infectious agents" such as OsHV-1 and environmental factors are causing the die-off of Pacific oysters there, whether other shellfish species are involved and the risk of infection posed by the transfer of adult Pacific oysters from infected farms. European authorities want increased bio-security measures in their oyster aquaculture sector, and tests on the health status of oyster spat before it is collected for farming. But MAF said the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) did not list OsHV-1 as a mollusc disease, so it was not an issue of concern in oyster trade. "The oyster industry is clearly facing significant production issues with a predicted shortfall of approximately half of next year's harvest," said Dr Norman. "MAF will continue to work closely with the industry to identify other causes of the event and ways future production can be managed."

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

13

Desperate ACTION NEEDED to conserve freshwater fish

BY DAVID COOPER

ahurangi Technical Institute is part of international freshwater fish conservation efforts. Fifty-five freshwater conservation biologists, research scientists and specialists from zoos and aquariums from 21 countries met in the English city of Chester in November for the fourth International Zoo and Aquarium Symposium. The theme of the symposium was Global Freshwater Fishes: linking in situ and ex situ actions. Mahurangi Technical Institute's project director, David Cooper, was invited to speak at this prestigious conference on the conservation hatchery work that MTI does and in particular the breeding projects relating to shortfin eels, (Anguilla australis) and giant kokopu, (Galaxias argenteus). The meeting provided an unprecedented opportunity for specialists to promote conservation of freshwater fishes in their habitats; advance projects at public aquaria to raise public awareness for conservation, and support conservation through species breeding programmes. Specific projects will be identified for priority species in a number of regions globally, linking in situ actions (ie, conservation actions within the natural habitat and range of the species) and ex situ actions (ie, actions that occur outside the habitat and range, through conservation breeding or other mechanisms). One such project selected by the conference attendees to support is a captive breeding project at MTI for the northern mudfish, (Neochanna heleios), which occurs only in Northland and is a threatened species listed as "nationally vulnerable". Professor Gordon McGregor Reid, the chair of the freshwater fish specialist group and immediate past president of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, stressed the important role zoos and aquariums can play. "Each year, more than 700 million people visit zoos

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and aquariums world-wide and give $350 million annually directly to field projects. We need to know how to take the most effective action in the most important areas." The participants affirmed the important role of zoos and aquariums in supporting in situ conservation, as well as properly planned and informed ex situ programmes. In his address to the meeting, Dr Simon Stuart, the chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, emphasised the challenge to conserve freshwater habitats and species. "It is important to consider all the options available to conservationists to prevent or reduce negative impacts." Dr Stuart attended the conference to present the results of the 10th Convention of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Nagoya in October, where the 185 countries that are signatories to the convention agreed on targets for conserving the world's biodiversity over the next 10 years. Greater protection for inland waters and sustainable management of inland fisheries are now, for the first time, specifically mentioned in a number of CBD targets. This calls for significantly increased investment in research, conservation planning and management in inland waters. All participants at the meeting highlighted the desperate need for conservation action for many species of freshwater fish around the world. The results from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, showed that the world's fresh water is among the most threatened of all habitats, and freshwater fish are being severely impacted. "But there was still lack of basic data on the biological diversity of many freshwater habitats around the world. More action on assessing the risk of extinction to species, as defined through the criteria used in the IUCN Red List, is urgently needed.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Foreign feed

Dear Sir The technology gap with aquaculture in New Zealand continues to widen as we slide further behind the rest of the world in terms of growth in this sector. Unfortunately, this has a trickle-down affect throughout the related industry, for example feed manufacture. That technology gap manifested itself here in the mid-1990s with NRM's fleeting foray into salmon feed, the result being large-scale extruded aquaculture feed production has yet to be tried again in New Zealand.

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There currently exist only two manufacturers of aquaculture feed in New Zealand. CRT in the South Island produces relatively small volumes of salmon feed on a pellet press, while EN Hutchinson Ltd in Auckland has a small extruder producing a range of niche aquaculture feed. Not withstanding the aforementioned, New Zealand relies almost completely on imported feed and is totally dependent on the developments of foreign companies for technological improvements in feed used on our farms. Compare this with our agricultural sector and it beggars belief that a country with such a vast coastline could have two related industries with development and funding so

diametrically opposed. To this end, New Zealand is exposed to the whims of international aquaculture feed companies and is not at liberty to control ingredient source or quality, an important factor when attempting to brand New Zealand-grown produce and also with the potential for increased risk of importing disease. We can only hope this over-regulated industry will eventually spring forth (don't hold your breath), resulting in the development of many trickle-down businesses waiting in the wings. Pete Hutchinson Auckland

NZ AQUACULTURE

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

Reforms will encourage "SMART GROWTH"

Phil Heatley

emoving the requirement for aquaculture management areas in the Aquaculture Reform Bill would have an immediate impact within the industry, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Phil Heatley, told the 2010 Aquaculture Conference on November 17. "I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but the AMA process turned out to be counter-productive," he said. Removing the requirement for AMAs would place aquaculture on the same footing as other activities in the coastal marine area. Applicants could apply directly for a resource consent, subject to the provisions of the relevant regional coastal plan. Heatley said aquaculture had huge potential. "Just look at the rapidly expanding Chinese market for high-quality seafood," and the government had moved quickly to support aquaculture development. "Potential isn't worth much without action, as my parents used to say," he said. The government was making rapid progress to reduce costs, delays and uncertainty, promote investment and make sure decisions on aquaculture development fit within an integrated coastal management framework. The bill, formally titled the Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No 3), streamlines planning and consenting processes and improves integration processes between the Fisheries Act and the Resource Management Act. "We believe it will enable smart growth through diversification into new and higher value species, better use of existing space, and some careful expansion into new space." The bill also provide greater certainty for investors by including, in most cases, a minimum 20-year consent term. "It is about investment not just in the water but on land and in overseas markets, which is why we have that minimum term," he told the conference. The bill simplified information requirements and better integrated the UAE test with RMA consent processes.Applicants could reach a negotiated agreement with relevant fishing quota holders and register it before the UAE test was undertaken. If a negotiated agreement were registered, a UAE test would not be needed for the relevant stocks. "The UAE test is still there. There can't be an undue adverse affect on fishing without it being addressed. But now there are two ways to address it." Heatley said the government was committed to upholding the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement.The bill retained the core components of the Settlement Act, including providing Maori with 20 percent of new aquaculture space. But a new mechanism was needed for delivering those obligations and the government was meeting iwi to discuss the best way to meet the 20 percent obligation, either by providing space or an agreed equivalent. "We are not pursuing the idea that a 20 percent `slice' of each newly consented farm be allocated for settlement purposes." Other provisions in the bill included giving the Minister of Fisheries power to amend regional coastal plans by regulation for aquaculture. "This step is a signal of the importance the government places on aquaculture development," he said. The bill established clear boundaries for when the minister used that power. The new aquaculture unit within MFish provided a focal

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point for the government to interact with councils, industry, environmental and recreation interests and other stakeholders. Heatley said those with a resource consent application in the pipeline would be able in many cases, subject to the provisions of the relevant regional coastal plan, to have their application processed from day one of the new law being passed. "That is

WE ARE NOT PURSUING THE IDEA THAT A 20 PERCENT `SLICE' OF EACH NEWLY CONSENTED FARM BE ALLOCATED FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES

likely to be around the middle of next year." New Zealand was a small player on the international stage. "But we have a lot going for us ­ superb natural resources, a framework for managing those resources in a sustainable way and an industry that's innovative, knows where it wants to go and is actively taking steps to make sure it gets there."

VIP.AC31

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011

NZ AQUACULTURE

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