A Māori fishing company, scientists and engineers have joined forces to help refocus the New Zealand scampi industry from frozen commodity production, to live export trade to realise its estimated $200 million annual export potential.
The initiative is led by Cawthron Institute in collaboration with Waikawa Fishing Company, University of Auckland and Zebra-Tech.
Program leader and Cawthron scientist Shaun Ogilvie said the initiative marks the first major advance in the scampi fishery since it began in the late 1980s and “its success will revolutionize the scampi industry.”
“The vision of our team of researchers, technologists, and fishing industry specialists is to enable future generations to benefit from access to kaimoana and export growth by linking matauranga Māori with leading-edge research, innovative design, and engineering.”
The program will receive $1.5 million a year over six years from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) 2013 to develop more sustainable, commercially attractive harvesting methods, and establish land-based aquaculture systems for domestication.
The team will be combining sustainable Māori harvesting methods with revolutionary technology to help achieve their goals. Current annual New Zealand export earnings from scampi are $21m but the team believe the potential for the sector is far greater.
“Through the development of more efficient, effective and environmentally-friendly harvesting technologies we’re aiming to support the industry to increase this to $200 million in annual exports by 2030,” Dr Ogilvie says.
A new hatchery has been built at Cawthron Aquaculture Park near Nelson to improve understanding of New Zealand scampi and establish the world’s first captive breeding program for the species.
Cawthron Institute is a world-leader in aquaculture research, breeding and farming systems. Scientists at Cawthron Aquaculture Park were the first in the world to domesticate New Zealand’s iconic Greenshell mussel and are now working with industry to breed for desired traits.
A multi-disciplinary team of experts are also involved in the program, helping with everything from pot design and field-testing to improved ship-board transport, land-based aquaculture and economic modelling.
The program will be advised and guided by an international technical advisory group of industry, marine technology and science experts including Maori fishing quota holders, and marine technology, science and fishing industry peers from Scotland, Portugal, Norway, USA and Japan.