Biological Industries Research
The Cultured Shellfish Programme: Enabling, Growing, and Securing NZ’s Shellfish Aquaculture Sector
Aquaculture is the world’s fastest growing primary sector and is identified as a prime opportunity in the government’s business growth agenda. Aquaculture NZ has similar aspirations, with a goal of achieving export sales of $1B by 2025.
Cawthron Institute’s Cultured Shellfish programme will help industry push beyond this target, by enabling innovation-driven growth to maximise the profitability of NZ’s mussel industry. New high-value shellfish industries will improve the profitability of the aquaculture sector and reduce risk through diversification. Improved biosecurity preparedness will secure these gains. These goals will be achieved by domesticating our valuable shellfish species. This revolution will provide a reliable seed supply and enable selective breeding of these stocks, yielding higher productivity, quality, and market value. The Pacific oyster industry was decimated by the oyster herpes virus in 2010. This research will enable the industry to recover and grow. Where technical barriers hinder farming, we will partner with industry to develop solutions. Securing these gains, new tools will manage the risk to aquaculture from biosecurity threats, and position the sector to react more effectively to future problems.
The Cultured Shellfish programme has become the hub of NZ shellfish aquaculture research. Our facilities and expertise in shellfish early life history and breeding are unique. Our multidisciplinary team has the critical mass for a truly holistic approach. We work with crown research institutes (Plant & Food Research, AgResearch), NZ universities, and international teams from around the world. Maori and our industry partners are critical as research collaborators and as end-users. The companies we work with represent the bulk of NZ’s shellfish aquaculture. Their facilities at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park will enable them to use this research to benefit NZ.