Novel farming systems enabling multiple shellfish species culture in open ocean sites
New Zealand’s $264M shellfish aquaculture sector is eager to grow in response to globally increasing demand but is constrained by limited access to sheltered inshore farm space. The new frontier is open ocean aquaculture (OOA), where large tracts of consented space are available but farming is challenging. If this space were fully utilised, it would more than double NZ’s total aquaculture estate.
Inshore farming methods lack durability and are expensive to maintain when extended into the high-energy open ocean. While futuristic open ocean finfish systems are rapidly evolving, systems for shellfish OOA are in their infancy. New engineering concepts and new farming approaches are needed to maximise the sustainable production potential of the challenging OOA environment and give industry confidence to invest.
Drawing on our team’s extensive OOA experience, we will develop new tools and methods needed to cost-effectively farm shellfish in this new frontier, potentially realising ~$300M p.a. in new export revenue. Solving the technical challenges and giving industry confidence to invest will unlock the potential of this new aquaculture frontier.