Northland Aquaculture Development Group
How did the Group come about?
The group was established December 2011 through the instigation of the then regional economic development agency, Enterprise Northland (now Northland Inc). The group is made up of representatives of Iwi, oyster and paua farmers, and investment consultants and is supported by NIWA, Cawthron Institute and Northland Inc (the latter acting as the groups’ contact point and secretariat).
Establishing the relationships and partnerships, building trust is a cornerstone of the economic development practitioners’ trade. It is one of the first rules of clustering. Each cluster is different in its form and style. In this case, the initiators concentrated on recruiting those who wanted to make a difference and wanted to move into the space. The existing fishing industry players were initially excluded as the assessment was, that they already had agendas, and for the last decade had not advanced aquaculture in Northland for a variety of reasons. This is not to say that existing players do not have a part to play in the development of the industry, but their involvement and attitude to development and change at this time was perceived for the time as limited.
“The increasing global demand for seafood and ever-reducing wild stocks are well established and documented facts. Northland is ideally placed to develop a significant aquaculture industry to provide high value seafood products to satisfy the growing demand. The Northland Aquaculture Development Group has prepared a bold action based plan that focuses on product and technological innovation to create an environment in which an aquaculture industry can develop and then flourish. The long-term goal is to develop a $300m industry in Northland by 2030, however, the group is committed and focused on the short term to create, and then prove that this target is realistic and achievable.”
(Lee West, Chairman, Northland Aquaculture Development Group, 2011-12).
What is the purpose of the Group?
- To develop an agreed plan of action that represents all key stakeholders’ intent and needs.
- To facilitate the implementation of the agreed plan.
- To collaborate with all stakeholders and provide a coherent and organised industry voice.
- To create an attractive investment opportunity.
- To secure investment into the industry.
- To maximise economic and non-economic benefits for all stakeholders.
- To add value to Northland.
What are the goals of the Group?
- To improve community wellbeing – healthy food, healthy environment, more jobs.
- To focus on innovation in both species choice and technology utilisation.
- To remove barriers and pro-actively develop the Northland opportunity.
- To create an attractive investment opportunity for all interested parties.
- To maintain strategic advantage through research & development and a collaborative approach.
- To improve product on a continual basis.
- To build a $300m Northland industry by 2030.
How does the Group operate?
The group meets on a quarterly basis and concentrates on keeping the strategy momentum and focus with separate operational working groups now formed to develop species specific plans (others formed when the need dictates such). These working groups meet at least monthly:
- Finfish Working Group
- Oyster Working Group
- Greenshell™ Mussel Working Group
- Freshwater Working Group
- Paua Working Group
Each working group reports progress back to the parent NADG with each working group responsible for developing its own action plan, based on a consistent set of terms of reference, that include:
- That the species industry is investment ready with a clear, concise, business case and growth strategy.
- Developing and identifying a targeted strategy for attracting investment to the opportunities.
- The strategy defines a regional approach that builds on the comparative and competitive advantages of the region.
- Identifies priorities and strategies for development and research.
- Identifies and develops skills required to assist ongoing development.
- Contributes to the development of an ‘aquaculture centre of excellence’.
- Ensures that development is in concert with cultural values.
How is each of the Working Groups progressing?
The Working Groups are in different stages of advancement.
- Finfish: ‘greenfields’, established and working to develop their action plan - one species of focus being Seriola Ialandi lalandi, locally known as yellow tailed kingfish.
- Oyster: building on existing established networks.
- Greenshell™ Mussel: yet to be established.
- Freshwater: ‘greenfields’, bringing together players from both inside and outside the region.
- Paua: yet to be established.