New funds for sustainable aquaculture project
NIWA’s Sustainable Aquaculture project was recently awarded six years of research funding by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to help grow New Zealand aquaculture in an environmentally sustainable way.
Uncertainty about the effects that aquaculture expansion might have on the environment is a barrier to realising aquaculture’s growth potential.
NIWA's Sustainable Aquaculture Project is addressing the need to quantify and mitigate environmental effects of aquaculture. Our past research has focussed on the longline culture of greenshell mussels. For instance, collaborative research with Environment Waikato and the mussel industry, demonstrated that New Zealand's biggest mussel farm in Wilson Bay (Firth of Thames) has very little impact on the bay's ecosystem.
Diversification into new high-value species poses new challenges. Intensive culture of finfish and other species has greater local impacts than the extensive production systems used to culture mussels.
The new funding is enabling us to diversify our research approach to meet these challenges. As well as researching the impacts of exisiting aquaculture species, we are researching the potential impacts of new species and new farming systems, such as multi-trophic aquaculture.