Plant & Food Research Institute has received more than $5 million in the latest round of Government science funding, to develop fish ranching.
Chief operating officer Bruce Campbell says it's not fish farming as we know it, but a hybrid approach, which involves building up wild fish stocks so they can be harvested later on.
He says one of the advantages that New Zealand has is its proportion of wild catch and consumers place a premium on those fish caught in the wild.
"So what this programme is looking to do is develop some new sorts of technologies to enhance schools of fish in the wild and then at some point brought in to be able to link to aquaculture and aquaculture type harvesting mechanisms," he said.
Mr Campbell says it has the advantage of a small footprint, low energy costs and minimum costs of infrastructure and natural feeding mechanisms.
He says the fish ranching programme will start with snapper.