The Ministry of Fisheries has given its approval for a large, open-sea mussel farm, still in its "experimental" form, off the coast of Canterbury. The project is expected to create as many as 200 job opportunities, especially in the Christchurch area.
The approval has come after about a decade of research and constant consultation by joint-venture firms Ngai Tahu Fisheries, Marlborough Mussel Company, owned by Dunedin's Skeggs family, and Pegasus Bay Aquaculture.
Yesterday, the Ministry announced its approval for as many as 10 marine farms in the South Island, which would also include "2695-hectare Pegasus Bay mussel farm 14 kilometres offshore from Woodend". Additionally, approval has been granted for a "424ha mussel farm in Clifford Bay on Marlborough's east coast, 700 metres offshore".
According to Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley, aquaculture has large potential and can effectively generate a sustainable economic growth for New Zealand.
By 2025, the Government is expecting aquaculture to be a large-scale, $1 Billion per year industry.