The shellfish industry says a new research programme to grow and develop purpose-bred mussels will revolutionise the industry.
The Government's Primary Growth Partnership fund is providing $26 million over the next seven years for the project, which is being led by fishery companies Sanford, Sealord Group and Wakatu Incorporation.
Sanford managing director Eric Barratt says the industry started farming mussels on long lines nearly 40 years ago, but relies on collecting wild spat (baby mussels) to grow out to supply markets.
He says domesticating the mussel and developing selectively-bred spat in captivity will transform the industry.
Mr Barratt says the industry will match the Government's funding contribution dollar for dollar.