Opotiki is proposed to become a major centre for aquaculture

Opotiki is proposed to become a major centre for aquacultureYantai, Chinese sister city's Mayor Zhang Jiangting led the visit of Dr Tim Lowe A delegation to Tauranga. This delegation discussed details of a major marine farming venture.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said that the visit of delegation marks a major new development in the sister city relationship.

The delegation is from Chinese aquaculture company Oriental Ocean and they visited New Zealand for their known aquaculture facilities, including Bay of Plenty Polytechnic's, which is yet to be officially open on October 29 at the Windermere Campus.

The delegation is planning to make Opotiki a major center for aquaculture and to discuss the details of marine farming; they met the Whakatohea partnership science and technical group with representatives from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and the Cawthron Institute.

Dr Tim Lowe, Head of School for Applied Sciences at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic said that Sea cucumber is very delicious delicacy in China and New Zealand's spices quite taste similar so the delegation were more interested in the details of hatchery and pond requirements for breeding the New Zealand sea cucumber (australostichopus mollis).

Both have decided to begin a joint venture which will be carried out to research and conduct the production of sea cucumbers in ponds based in Opotiki.

Initially, aquaculture researchers at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will help by providing campus' aquaculture facility to supply juvenile sea cucumbers.

Sources revealed that Mussells will be supplied by a group of New Zealand companies under the brand New Zealand Pure Mussels and could be processed in Tauranga. There would be export of around 20,000 tonnes of mussels to Yantai every year, giving boom to the New Zealand's aquaculture industry.

Chinese Oriental Ocean Company is one of the largest aquaculture companies in the country and Professor Che Shi, president of the company is one of China's wealthiest businessmen. In the beginning of their trials for setting up sea cucumbers the company is working with the polytechnic and the Cawthron Institute for their expert advice.

Professor Che Shi is also vice-president of China's aquaculture industry group and in the coming three years the company is planning to open 500 seafood stores throughout China stocked with New Zealand greenshell mussels.