10 Apr 2015

Nelson mussel hatchery boost some way off

7:30 am on 10 April 2015

A new mussel hatchery in Nelson is unlikely to provide relief for more than 200 Sanford fishing company staff who will lose their jobs if it closes its Christchurch plant.

The company is proposing to shut down its Christchurch-based processing plant because of a reduction in supply of the shellfish.

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Photo: 123RF

It has just opened a new mussel hatchery at the Cawthron Aquaculture park in Nelson, aimed at building certainty around the supply and production of mussels.

But it said results would not be seen for a few years.

Cawthron Institute chief executive Charles Eason said the mussel hatchery had been years in the planning and was an exciting step for the industry.

He said it would reduce the reliance on wild spat, or baby mussels, which can vary with weather conditions, and so give exporters greater assurance of supply and new opportunities.

"There are exciting opportunities to add value in terms of taste or choosing families of mussels that naturally produce higher levels of the health-giving properties that these seafoods contain, such as Omega 3s, and so on, that are all good for our cardiovascular system and arthritis".

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