20 Aug 2011

Government fund extended to aquaculture

4:10 pm on 20 August 2011

A government fund usually reserved for agricultural development has been extended to include the growing aquaculture industry.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Sustainable Farming Fund invests about $9 million a year in projects led by farmers, growers and foresters.

The Government aims to turn aquaculture into a $1 billion business by 2025. It is worth about $350 million at present.

Aquaculture New Zealand chief executive Mike Burrell says being included in the fund is encouraging for the industry.

Meanwhile, Parliament has passed a law removing the need for Aquaculture Management Areas to be established before a company makes a consent application to a regional council.

Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley says it will assist development in Tasman and Waikato by amending regional coastal plans to allow applications for farming a wider range of species, including finfish.