New Zealand breeds “super snapper” to boost aquaculture industry

WELLINGTON, Apr 1: The New Zealand government looks to grow and future-proof the country’s aquaculture industry by breeding “super” snappers that are more resistant to disease, grow faster, and can thrive in warmer water, reported Xinhua.

The super snapper could help drive more economic growth through aquaculture, New Zealand’s Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones said on Sunday.

“The potential here goes far beyond growing a better and more resilient breed of fish,” Jones said, adding climate change is affecting the condition of the oceans and this project is a practical response by a key industry to that change.

In the wild, snapper can take many years to grow to catch size. The ability to grow them faster, getting them from farm to plate in a shorter time, could open up a new export market and reduce pressure on wild snapper stock, the minister said.

Jones said the government welcomes and encourages research that is focused on expanding and improving farmed fish species, adding aquaculture provides jobs for New Zealanders and economic growth for the regions and increases the export potential for the country.

The minister also cited the recent final approval for New Zealand King Salmon’s Blue Endeavour project as an example to show the aquaculture industry is up to the challenge of climate change.

The Blue Endeavour project will develop salmon farming in the open sea off the north Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand’s South Island and is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of harvested salmon annually, with export revenue of up to 300 million NZ dollars (US$179.61 million) per year, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

“New Zealand’s seafood is sought after globally,” he said, adding the expansion of the country’s aquaculture industry will contribute to the export-led recovery.