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Agreement Cements Nelson-based Aquaculture Partnership

03 July 2013

NEW ZEALAND - Aquaculture in the Top of the South has received a further boost following the signing of a formal agreement between Cawthron Institute and Wakatu Incorporation.

“This new partnership represents a long-term investment in the aquaculture sector and symbolises an ongoing commitment by Cawthron Institute and Wakatu to economic development in the Nelson Tasman region,” Cawthron Institute Chairman Ian Kearney said.

“By working together at a strategic level we’re able to better pool our resources and knowledge so we can continue to support the sustainable growth of aquaculture in the Top of the South.”

Wakatu-owned seafood company Kono has been based at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park since 2003, working with Cawthron Institute at an operational level on shellfish research and development. The new agreement between the boards of directors of both organisations marks a shift to strategic level planning and sets out terms around the leasing of land, shared resources, collaborations and infrastructure at the park.

Wakatu Incorporation Chairman Paul Morgan says the agreement cements its longstanding partnership with Cawthron Institute which includes working together on the oyster selective breeding programme and the production of high value natural compounds for the nutraceutical sector.

“We’ve been working together for a decade at an operational level and now, by applying that partnership at a strategic level we can complement each other even further - it’s a smarter way of doing things and will help in future planning and decision-making around new investments, research and developments,” he said.

“We needed to formalise our relationship so we could get on and look to the future. It’s good for us, for the industry and for our region to have this added security and certainty and sends the message that we’re in this sector for the long haul.”

Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says this week’s signing marks an exciting step in the future direction and development of the aquaculture park.

“It represents the formal coming together of the two entities and further bridges the gap between our scientific research and the on-farm production of aquaculture species.”

Cawthron Aquaculture Park has expanded significantly since it was established almost two decades ago to support the development of New Zealand’s aquaculture sector through innovative research. Now covering 20 hectares of rural land at Glenduan north of Nelson, it includes an aquaculture research centre, ponds and hatchery facilities. As well as Kono, the park is now also home to New Zealand’s largest Pacific oyster and Greenshell mussel hatchery operations, owned by Aotearoa Fisheries Limited and SpatNZ respectively.

Professor Eason said: “This new agreement supports our vision for the Cawthron Aquaculture Park as a centre of excellence for aquaculture, and a place where scientific research and development underpins industry for the benefit of our economy.”

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