Aquaculture set to redefine Southland key industries

Southland could step in as a key player in high value global protein requirements as the Just Transition team begin to lay the foundations for extending and diversifying industry in an economy with or without Tiwai.

Open water Aquaculture is cementing a position as a key industry to offer significant value to Southland’s economy and communities. 

The Just Transition group’s agenda is to secure the future of the region, to keep it buoyant, introduce more skilled jobs, lower carbon, diversify land and water use, and look to productive clean energy usage.

The project groups are made up of seven work streams led by community leaders. These streams include Long Term Planning, Clean Energy, Worker Transition, Business Transition, Land Use, Community Capability Building and Aquaculture.

Aquaculture will be an extremely valuable extension to Southland industry: as a 10-hectare salmon farm can be worth $140 million in annual revenue. 

Comparison of the approximate annual value per 10 farmed hectares for different primary products

Salmon: $140,000,000

Mussels: $850,000

Oysters: $800,000

Kiwifruit: $800,000

Dairy: $77,000

Sheep and beef: $8,500

Source: Zespri, Beef DairyNZ, AQN

The global demand for premium seafood is high and it is expected to grow. Southland is the perfect environment to extend the aquaculture industry and to be a key economic contributor.

Enduring Oversight Group (EOG) Co-chair and Just Transition Aquaculture workstream lead, Aimee Kaio said extending Aquaculture is beyond just increasing production.

“Building on the 2015 Southland Regional Development Strategy Open Ocean Aquaculture work, we are encouraging the implementation of a thriving industry, with clean, world-leading technologies.

“We are working hard to ensure this is something that reshapes Southland, not just by adding to our GDP but with education opportunities, employment opportunities, leadership in sustainability and adding to our Southland story as producers of New Zealand’s highest quality food,” Kaio said.

Minister of Economic Development, Hon Stuart Nash had a vision that New Zealand could be globally recognised as a world-leader in sustainable and innovative aquaculture management across the value chain. 

Southland is set to support his vision with key industry players collaborating by sharing knowledge and resources to ensure a strong development model is established to reshape the industry. “There’s been this genuine enthusiasm from those involved so far and we are excited to be leading the way for Open Ocean Aquaculture,” Kaio said.