Aquaculture

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You can’t take a trip to the Marlborough Sounds and fail to notice the patchwork of buoys bobbing in the blue waters. Suspended under these buoys are kilometres of lines, each in turn with their own much smaller lines trailing beneath. These lines, less than a millimetre in diameter, are the anchoring byssal threads (or beards) of green-lipped mussels.
NIWA scientists have made a breakthrough that may underpin expansion of the high-value New Zealand salmon farming industry.
This award-winning kingfish sashimi dish is creating quite a splash – but it doesn’t come from the sea. We look at NIWA’s latest aquaculture success story and the new opportunities it’s on path to deliver.
New ways to address environmental sustainability challenges.

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Northland Aquaculture Centre

Our dedicated team and facilities can conduct research and work with commercial clients to design and manage marine operations that optimise sustainable aquaculture production and meets high environmental and quality certification standards

Dr Alvin Setiawan

About us

NIWA is supporting the advancement of New Zealand's growing aquaculture sector through the development of high value products of verifiable quality and sustainability. The team at The Northland Marine Research Center has expertise in systems design, environmental interations, new species development, disease identification, prevention and treatment, handling and harvesting, nutrition, reproduction and physiology. Our dedicated team and facilities can conduct research and work with commercial clients to design and manage marine operations that optimise sustainable aquaculture production and meets high environmental and quality certification standards.

2020_03_06_Alvin Setiawan_RAS

About RAS

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are a land-based production technology for aquatic organisms and high-value finfish. They utilise simple water treatment technologies (mechanical and biological filtrations) to minimise water use and maintain a tightly controlled environment. These can range from very open systems that use only basic treatment technologies to reuse some of their water resource, to fully closed systems which reuse 100% of the water and only add new water to account for splashing and evaporation. RAS vary in their design and functionality depending on the species being produced, the local conditions and the cost/access to a local water resource.

Advantages of using RAS

  • Reduced water requirements 
  • Water is treated and recirculated, significantly reducing water requirements. 
  • Production Control
  • Water can be heated/cooled, high oxygen can be maintained, pH adjusted, pathogens treated, and waste products removed to maximise health, growth rates, and the welfare of the stock. 
  • Increase in long-term production
  • Stock are unaffected by seasonality, periodic disease events and adverse weather, allowing continuous and reliable production.  
  • Reduced environmental footprint
  • Waste streams are treated and recycled to ensure they have the least impact on the environment as possible. Being land-based, there is also no risk of fish escaping and interbreeding with wild populations. 
  • Flexible design
  • The system can easily be customised for different species, locations and consumer preferences. 
NIWA has world-class expertise in marine macroalgae and extensive research on various aspects of seaweed ecology, growth and taxonomy.
Northland Aquaculture Centre

Our dedicated team and facilities can conduct research and work with commercial clients to design and manage marine operations that optimise sustainable aquaculture production and meets high environmental and quality certification standards

You can’t take a trip to the Marlborough Sounds and fail to notice the patchwork of buoys bobbing in the blue waters. Suspended under these buoys are kilometres of lines, each in turn with their own much smaller lines trailing beneath. These lines, less than a millimetre in diameter, are the anchoring byssal threads (or beards) of green-lipped mussels.
Dr Alvin Setiawan

About us

NIWA is supporting the advancement of New Zealand's growing aquaculture sector through the development of high value products of verifiable quality and sustainability. The team at The Northland Marine Research Center has expertise in systems design, environmental interations, new species development, disease identification, prevention and treatment, handling and harvesting, nutrition, reproduction and physiology. Our dedicated team and facilities can conduct research and work with commercial clients to design and manage marine operations that optimise sustainable aquaculture production and meets high environmental and quality certification standards.

2020_03_06_Alvin Setiawan_RAS

About RAS

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) are a land-based production technology for aquatic organisms and high-value finfish. They utilise simple water treatment technologies (mechanical and biological filtrations) to minimise water use and maintain a tightly controlled environment. These can range from very open systems that use only basic treatment technologies to reuse some of their water resource, to fully closed systems which reuse 100% of the water and only add new water to account for splashing and evaporation. RAS vary in their design and functionality depending on the species being produced, the local conditions and the cost/access to a local water resource.

Advantages of using RAS

  • Reduced water requirements 
  • Water is treated and recirculated, significantly reducing water requirements. 
  • Production Control
  • Water can be heated/cooled, high oxygen can be maintained, pH adjusted, pathogens treated, and waste products removed to maximise health, growth rates, and the welfare of the stock. 
  • Increase in long-term production
  • Stock are unaffected by seasonality, periodic disease events and adverse weather, allowing continuous and reliable production.  
  • Reduced environmental footprint
  • Waste streams are treated and recycled to ensure they have the least impact on the environment as possible. Being land-based, there is also no risk of fish escaping and interbreeding with wild populations. 
  • Flexible design
  • The system can easily be customised for different species, locations and consumer preferences. 
NIWA scientists have made a breakthrough that may underpin expansion of the high-value New Zealand salmon farming industry.
Welcome to the September edition of Making Waves. As always, our commitment is to deliver quality science for the benefit of New Zealand.
A summary of aquaculture scientific publications, conference presentations and popular science publications.
This award-winning kingfish sashimi dish is creating quite a splash – but it doesn’t come from the sea. We look at NIWA’s latest aquaculture success story and the new opportunities it’s on path to deliver.
New ways to address environmental sustainability challenges.
NIWA’s team of leading scientists and world-class facilities are dedicated to supporting the sustainable growth, diversification and future-proofing of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry.
NIWA is working on macroalgae and microalgae with a wide range of stakeholders, government agencies, current clients and potential partners.
Our dedicated team and facilities can conduct research and work with commercial clients to design and manage marine operations that optimise sustainable aquaculture production and meets high environmental and quality certification standards.
Physiological research is particularly important when developing new species in aquaculture, but also for well-established farmed species to further improve production and welfare.
Pacific oysters were introduced in New Zealand and have a moderately complex life-cycle.
Greenshell™ mussel (also known as green-lipped mussel) are indigenous to New Zealand and have a moderately complex life-cycle.
NIWA is working with major Chinook salmon producers to explore alternative farming technologies that circumvent the need for additional inshore marine farming space.
Before fish Alvin Setiawan studied weta and penguins. These days he’s never far from the kingfish tanks at NIWA’s Northland Marine Research Centre at Bream Bay.
Research shows how fish are being affected by microplastics.
The seafood counter at your local supermarket has changed.
A handful of species we work on

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All staff working on this subject

Principal Technician - Marine Ecology
Principal Scientist - Ecosystem Modelling
Principal Scientist - Aquatic Pollution
Principal Scientist - Marine Physics
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Marine Biosecurity Scientist
Marine Biologist
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