A project to help ocean-related businesses in the Nelson Tasman region to accelerate their growth will be backed by the Government, Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Stuart Nash, has announced.
Mr Nash said the region was home to more than 400 blue economy businesses, accounting for more than 30% of New Zealand’s economic activity in fishing, aquaculture, and seafood processing.
“There’s an enormous opportunity to leverage the good reputation of Nelson Tasman’s seafood and aquaculture sector to help connect with potential investors to boost innovation and growth,” the Minister said.
“This new project will establish a blue economy cluster – a group of seafood and aquaculture companies with a common interest in growing the sector’s sustainability and success.
“The blue economy cluster will enable the local sector to move forward together and pool resources and expertise.”
Mr Nash said there were similar clusters operating overseas, which the local seafood and aquaculture sector could tap into.
“New Zealand has a lot to offer and, equally, there’s a lot we can learn from similar clusters overseas, such as in USA, Canada, Norway and Iceland.”
The Government is contributing $500,000 over two years to the new Moananui – Blue Economy Cluster project through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.
A further $400,000 will be invested by the Nelson Regional Development Agency, Cawthron Institute, Sealord, Pharmalink Extracts, Plant and Food, Port Nelson, Kernohan Engineering, Wakatū Incorporation, and MacLab.
“The new project will help our local businesses establish connections, stimulate innovation, and attract investors,” Mr Nash said.
“This project is a great example of Government working in partnership with local businesses and regional leaders enhance our competitive advantage overseas, create more jobs to boost the local Nelson Tasman economy, and focus efforts on low carbon, sustainable initiatives.”
He said the project was a great fit with the Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan, which is currently under development.
“The Fisheries Industry Transformation Plan is expected to identify the importance of collaboration across the sector, environmental sustainability, and innovation to the sector’s success.”
“The new Moananui – Blue Economy Cluster project will be another step towards turning the plan into action,” Mr Nash said.