In December 2018 Council signed off on the Productivity Plan, which outlines how we can partner with central and regional government agencies, local councils, industry, iwi (to facilitate maori economic development) and the community to catalyse a positive change that stretches outside our normal remit as a Council. The Plan is focused on high value opportunities, with five targeted work streams - one of which is around aquaculture.

Aquaculture’s role in Coromandel jobs and growth

Wilson Bay mussel farms in the Hauraki Gulf just off Coromandel is 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."

Background history

In June 2020 the government approved $20m from the Provincial Growth Fund towards the redevelopment of the Sugarloaf Wharf in Coromandel Harbour. The facility will be jointly owned as a company made up of our Council, the Coromandel Marijne Farmers and the Crown.

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

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.


Kopu marine servicing and business precinct project

An off-shoot of the aquaculture work stream in the TCDC Productivity Plan is the Kopu marine servicing facility business case project. This considers the merits of upgrading Kopu to link in with developments within Coromandel Harbour (specifically infrastructure to support commercial aquaculture growth at the Sugarloaf Wharf), as well as complementing a proposal for a new centrally located marina closer to Coromandel Town that would cater for a commuter Ferry from Auckland, 12 charter boats and dry dock boat storage (35 large boats, 180 trailer boats) and marine-side apartments.

The business case for Kopu is investigating it as a centre to support marine servicing operations across the Hauraki Gulf, as well as being a connector for water-based tourism opportunities – connecting across the Hauraki Gulf as well as through to the Paeroa Wharf. 

A feasibility and business case for Kopu has been completed and an application to central government's Provincial Growth Fund for consent and build has been resubmitted Read more about the project here.