THE New Zealand seafood industry – both farmed and wild caught – is facing its brightest prospects for many years, a government report has said.
The report, released by the Ministry for Primary Industries, paints a positive picture on nearly all fronts.
The Ministry says it expects a 4.4 per cent increase in seafood exports to NZ $1.8 billion this year and says that will rise to $2.3 billion by 2025.
Commenting on the forecast, Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst said it reflected the industry’s own assessment – that the future of commercial seafood, both wild capture and aquaculture, was in good heart.
‘The report confirmed that export prices for wild capture fisheries such as hoki, jack mackerel, and barracouta are expected to continue to grow, driven by increased overseas demand and sustainability constraints on volume.
‘The report was also confident around aquaculture and forecast that expanding aquaculture production will drive increased export volumes of mussels, oysters, and salmon.’
He said the findings echoed the optimism in a recent Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) report which showed commercial fishing was worth $4.1 billion to the country and aquaculture, although not included in the report, was worth at least $500 million.
Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund is urging the New Zealand government to adopt a new technology system that traces seafood from the sea to the plate.
The WWF says the new device has had a successful trial in Fiji and will help make New Zealand fisheries more sustainable.
The system, called the Blockchain Project, uses a radio frequency device to track fish from catch to the supermarket, with GPS precision.