Our Council has identified aquaculture as a key activity of focus and is working hard to ensure the industry can grow on the Coromandel.

Aquaculture’s role in Coromandel jobs and growth

Most locals are familiar with the Wilson Bay mussel farms in the Hauraki Gulf. It’s now a favourite fishing spot for many people – and generates spin-off businesses such as kayak and barge fishing tours, as well as providing product for domestic restaurants and export orders.
These mussel farms now bring jobs and economic prosperity to the Coromandel – yet in an environmentally sustainable way. 

The Coromandel aquaculture industry delivers 30% of NZ Greenshell mussel production and 24% of NZ Pacific oyster production by weight and together these two species bring in over $5M to the Coromandel, and create about 400 industry related jobs."

A 2017 report into the Economic Impact of the Aquaculture Industry to the Coromandel can be read here.

For more information on the aquaculture industry based in the Coromandel, please visit the Aquaculture NZ website.


Aquaculture: A Government priority

For a start, the Government has identified aquaculture as a key growth industry for New Zealand. With increasing global population and growing affluence in Asia, there is a growing desire for food protein – and the farming of fish and seafood holds great potential.

As the pioneer oceanographer and environmentalist, Jacques Cousteau said in 1973:

" ... we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology.  We need to farm it as we farm the land“

Indeed, just as global food production was revolutionised in the post-war period through a “green revolution”, the 21st century sees aquaculture as a major source of the world’s protein through a “blue revolution”.

Already the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation states that the aquaculture sector is the fastest growing primary sector in the world.

New Zealand’s potential

As an island nation, NZ may be small geographically – but we have the advantage of an abundance of water space. Compared with other countries, New Zealand only rates 75th in land mass. This means we are slightly larger in land space than the small African nation of Gabon. But when it comes to ocean area, New Zealand rates 7th in the world, with 4.1 million square kilometres. This potentially makes us a superpower when it comes to aquaculture.

At present, less than 0.2% of New Zealand’s coastline is currently used for aquaculture – and yet this produces more than $350 million worth of revenue.

The three species which make up New Zealand aquaculture at present are mussels, oysters and salmon. In the Coromandel, we are currently limited to only growing mussels and oysters within specifically defined Aquaculture Management Areas, due to prohibitions in the Regional Coastal Plan.