The Government is supporting a $26 million initiative that seeks to boost aquaculture by domesticating the New Zealand Greenshell Mussel.
SPATnz is a venture led by Sanford which has received a commitment of up to $13 million from the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund for a seven-year project. Formal contracts have just been signed, following development of a business plan.
The farmed mussel industry is currently reliant on wild-caught spat, which varies in quality attributes. This research will identify genetics that will meet market requirements and enable selective breeding, in the same way as has occurred in other primary production industries such as kiwifruit and dairy.
MPI Deputy Director-General Dan Bolger says adding value to products in this manner is a key theme of the Primary Growth Partnership Fund. “This is also an exciting development in collaboration between the primary sector and New Zealand’s science community.”
Sanford managing director Eric Barratt said Sanford has made a significant commercial investment in the mussel industry over the past few years and this new programme will ensure and improve the sustainability of the mussel business.
“This programme will create a step change for aquaculture. If successful this Primary Growth Partnership programme would achieve the biggest single development in aquaculture in nearly 40 years.”