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ISSUE 07

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2005

$5.00

Seahorse farms
- conserve wild stocks
Breakthrough
in breeding
shortfin eels
The latest
news and views

Articles and information printed in New Zealand Aquaculture do not necessarily reflect the opinions or formal position or the publishers unless otherwise indicated.co. All material published in New Zealand Aquaculture is done so with all due care as regards to accuracy and factual content.00 Seahor Cover photo courtesy of The Seahorse Farm . Charles Mitchell. Pakuranga 1706 Ph 09 533 4336 Fax 09 533 4337 email keith@skipper. Scott Peddie.co. Tagried Kurwie.nz 2 ■ ASSISTANT EDITOR: Mark Barratt-Boyes CONTRIBUTORS: Andrew Morgan.nzaquaculture. is permitted provided the source and author(s) are acknowledged.nz www. Contributions of a nature relevant to the aquaculture industry are welcomed and industry participants are especially encouraged to contribute. however.co. NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 . However. all photographic material is copyright and written permission to reproduce in any shape or form is required. the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors and omissions which may occur.CONTENTS 6 10 13 3 EDITORIAL Lack of access to coastal space hampers growth 4 NEWS A look at what’s happening in the industry 6 FARMING SEAHORSES AN ENVIRONMENTAL SAVIOUR Seahorse farm reduces pressure on wild broodstock 9 EELS DRAW SCIENTIST ACROSS THE OCEANS A profile of Dr Tagried Kurwie of the Mahurangi Technical Institute 10 BREAKTHROUGH IN BREEDING SHORTFIN EELS New Zealand leads the world in hatching eels 12 THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD BIOSECURITY IN SALMON FARMING Prevention of pathogens yields financial benefits 14 GROWING DEMAND FOR MUSSELS Understanding of market trends important for export growth ISSUE 07 ■ SEPTEMB ER/OCTO BER 2005 $5.conserverse farms wild stocks Breakt hrou in bree gh shortfi ding n eels The lat news and vieest ws EDITOR: Keith Ingram MANAGER: Vivienne Ingram ISSN 1176-5402 ISSN 1176-8657 (web) An informative journal for the aquaculture industry Published by: VIP PUBLICATIONS LTD 4 Prince Regent Drive. New Zealand Aquaculture is produced bi-monthly. Half Moon Bay.nz advertising@skipper. David Cooper ADVERTISING: Hamish Stewart DESIGNER: Rachel Walker PRE PRESS/CTP: BPG Digital PRINTERS: Business Print Group DISTRIBUTION: By subscription General: Reproduction of articles and materials published in New Zealand Aquaculture in whole or part.

please contact the editor. ac SUBSCRIBE NOW TO ISSUE 07 Name _______________________________________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Postal code ______________ Email _______________________________________________________________________________ ■ Enclose a cheque for ________________ ■ Visa/Mastercard/Bankcard (only) _______________ Card Number _________________________________________________________________________ Card Name __________________________________________________________________________ Signature __________________________________________________________Expiry date ——/—— ■ SEPTEMBE R/OCTOBE R 2005 ■ $30. the industry is still very much at a “wait and see” stage. which is to receive and hold settlement assets until they are transferred to iwi aquaculture organisations. or AMAs. 4 Prince Regent Drive. The new act establishes the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Settlement Trust. Half Moon Bay. Auckland. To progress it will need the confidence of investors to commit resources to the ongoing development of breeding and growing eels to market size in captivity. Aquaculture has already proven itself to be an environmentally friendly tourist attraction. While it is our intention to showcase the aquaculture industry.conserverse farms wild stocks Breakt hrou in bree gh shortfi ding n eels The lat news and vieest ws SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 3 . Hence procrastination reigns. On a recent visit to Napier we visited The Seahorse Farm. and perhaps the greatest challenge to the successful implementation of any arrangements with iwi lies in the fact that the delivery of any benefits to these trusts depends almost entirely on new areas being made available for aquaculture development. Because when one looks around and talks with local authorities.EDITORIAL LACK OF ACCESS TO COASTAL SPACE HAMPERS GROWTH BY KEITH INGRAM N ow the aquaculture law reform package of the legislation has come into effect. If we are to change public perception and negative attitudes towards aquaculture.00 for 6 issues GST No: 68-684-757 Post to: VIP Publications Ltd. However. is labour-intensive.We understand that the trust must also facilitate iwi compliance with the various requirements they must meet before receiving any assets as is their right. Coupled to this is the uncertainty surrounding the future status of Maori in aquaculture. Research has quietly progressed. This will not happen unless local authorities and the government demonstrate sound leadership in facilitating a cost-effective process to develop AMAs and farming sites. we cannot do it alone.00 $5. and location-wise is suited to our more isolated local coastal communities. If you have a story to tell. we are told. by nature. In saying this. They are all frightened of the implications of the Resource Management Act where it provides for objectors’ whims without accountability.The aquaculture industry. and a valuable asset to New Zealand. Maori also face similar challenges as the wider aquaculture industry. This is the first major step towards developing a new billion-dollar industry in this country. industry participants and local iwi. a common viewpoint evolves. The cost of processing aquaculture applications and developing AMAs is far beyond what ratepayers could reasonably be expected to fund. So far we have seen little confidence from the government or local authorities that will give the industry the reassurance it requires to develop this important food producing resource for the nation. 1706 Seahors . where once again the mix of tourism and sound commercial marketing is proving to be a success story for both the operators and the local community. One of the problems facing us all is the age-old shyness of not wanting to talk about ourselves. with a recent success being the ability to breed eels in captivity. we must be seen to be promoting ourselves as good citizens within the community.You might say that it is a sitter for Maori development. How the government will be able to honour its commitments to the treaty settlement and existing aquaculture stakeholders in the future is the burning question. make a decision and get on with it. the existing industry is very resilient. what the aquaculture industry needs. Basically. No-one in authority is prepared to take up the cudgels. is for local bodies to take the initiative and get on with the task of creating new aquaculture management areas. as the majority of participants are dedicated entrepreneurs who have committed their personal resources to invest in the industry.The future potential of this to grow is once again only constrained by our ability to have access to water and coastal space.

Davidson says the project is an important starting point in helping to sustain the salmon fisheries in New Zealand for the salmon anglers of the future. says both companies pleaded guilty after their own measurements confirmed council figures taken last July showed that their farms were oversized. Peter Vitasovich. coastal waters to grow our Greenshell mussels. Davidson has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. 70 percent more than its consent allowed for. Mussel spat drift on currents and feed on plankton for weeks before they develop their small. the council’s coastal monitoring team leader. dairy farmer and head judge Ted Coates said.are showing about two percent of the number released.“We were all amazed by the strong parallels between marine farming and land-based farming. In summing up. or the adults may be smothered if large amounts of sediments are stirred into the water and drift on currents along the coast.000 tonnes by 2010. and is vulnerable to environmental damage that occurs along the seafloor.05ha. an offshore ironsand mining industry could become established. Westpac Mussels Distributors Ltd was fined $20.The couple say they are enthusiastic about what has been achieved and take an active part in the operation. she said. and providing advice on how to get an old hatchery up and running. distinctive shells and settle. who helped them restore salmon stocks to the Rakaia River catchment.000 tonnes of farmed mussels worth about $250 million each year. but after extended periods they slow down and wait it out. Returns . and for nearly three years he has been working with the association’s volunteers to try to halt the decline in Chinook salmon numbers in the Rakaia River. and Houhora Bay Marine Farms by 2.Their natural reaction is to clean the sediment out of their shells. In a move to protect the wild mussel resource. when he took away special honours at this year’s Ballance Farm Environment Awards on April 14.“ The awards attracted a record 179 entries. with over 80 percent of the juvenile mussel stock coming from Ninety Mile Beach. Holton says that in March the council commissioned a report from the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research on the sensitive and complex marine environment along the western coast of the North Island. egg incubation and feeding. he has been supplying returning salmon.000 and Houhora Bay Marine Farms $10.” Both spat and adults become stressed and stop feeding if there is too much fine sediment in the water. Davidson. few knew about sustainable mussel farming practices. says prospecting and large-scale ironsand mining along the seabed from Taranaki to north of Kaipara could devastate the industry. Issues of public access. The hatchery is owned by Ad and Marjo Bruijn. the manager of New Zealand King Salmon’s Tentburn Hatchery. “I am delighted to receive this award. plus spawning. and I thought my mussel farm should be up for that.NEWS IRONSAND MINING COULD THREATEN MUSSELS The New Zealand Greenshell mussel industry has reacted strongly to an announcement that a company is to prospect for black ironsands along the western coast of the North Island.” Coates said. the government introduced Greenlipped mussels into the quota management system from October.What made Peter’s operation stand out was that he sees real value in meeting the consent requirements and quality standards imposed on and accepted by the marine farming sector. the fact that both farms had been reduced to their permitted sizes (in February this year) and the prompt guilty pleas by both parties. says the association. Iron Ore NZ Ltd’s permit covers 1270km of seabed.35ha. Westpac Mussels had exceeded its FARM WINS ENVIRONMENT AWARD What may have started as a dare by his land-based farming mates turned into a major win for a Greenshell mussel farmer. 4 ■ NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 authorised marine farming areas by 13.Working mostly in conjunction with New Zealand King Salmon.A 180 tonne total allowable catch limit was set for the western coast north New Zealand mussel stock. and Peter’s entry was the only mussel farm. which produces 78. the owner of Greenshell NZ Ltd. with 40 percent of salmon caught in 2005 originating from the first eggs hatched in 2002. The awards are for farmers who show how their environmentally sensitive approach can be part of a profitable farm business. Bruce Howse. who lease it to Fish and Game North Canterbury. The industry relies on wild mussel spat. If the prospecting confirmed sufficient material. and initial prospecting started in July. Judge CJ Thompson of the Auckland District Court said he took into account that there had been no discernable adverse effect on the environment. The results have far exceeded expectations for a new project.The report identified several wild adult mussel beds up to 1km offshore in depths up to 30m from Manukau Harbour north to North Cape.“Marine farmers take sustainable environmental practices very seriously because we rely on New Zealand’s clean. “My land-based farming mates were talking about entering the awards one night. OVERSIZED MARINE FARMS FINED Two oversized Northland marine farms were fined $30.There are certainly a lot of lessons to be learnt from Peter’s operation.While the judges were familiar with environmental land management. downstream effects and waste disposal were all very similar environmental challenges.” says Vitasovich.” she said. Production is expected to reach 100. “It is highly likely these adult populations are the source of the large quantities of mussel spat washing up along Ninety Mile Beach. was presented with the Athol Price Plaque for outstanding service to the salmon sports fishery at the association’s annual general meeting. It is a privilege to help such a dedicated group . “Seabed mining could physically damage the adult breeding stocks.000 after both admitted illegally occupying the coastal marine area and erecting marine farming structures in Houhora Bay. HATCHERY PROJECT SPAWNS AWARD The New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association recently honoured Graeme Davidson. the Executive Officer of the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council. Lorna Holton.000 recently after a successful prosecution by the Northland Regional Council.“ “We saw close parallels between managing a public water space and managing a high country farming lease.fish coming back to spawn .

Industry leaders from across New Zealand were coming together to work on an aquaculture sector strategy to build value across the industry. rising fuel and regulatory charges had all affected profitability in the last two years. IMPRISONMENT FOR PAUA OFFENCE Wun Yin Chow of Lower Hutt was sentenced to eight months imprisonment when he appeared at Wellington District Court on July 18 for sentencing on a charge in relation to paua offending. forestry and fishing section Scientist of the Year of the MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year.NIWA Phil also investigated the effects of waves on the kina. and he pulled the other half up regularly for feeding. reporting requirements and extra administration fees.” said the council’s executive officer. A strong New Zealand dollar. weighed 117. says the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council.Foundation for Research. Not only did the kina do well in the cages. Science and Technology.” AQUACULTURE COULD FACE CRIPPLING CHARGES Excessive regional council and government charges could force some small and mediumsized aquaculture farmers out of business. oysters and salmon. she says. by Phil James of the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research. It Divers feed kina in sea cages at Mahanga Bay. The paua.“We want some of these key trade issues raised at the next World Trade Organisation negotiations in Doha. and we believe we can provide new impetus for Regal’s growth. Europe and North Asia. He got 31 percent more roe from kina in cages suspended from a mussel longline at 6m than from kina in cages held in place by a sub-surface longline on the seabed. line levies. If the industry was to grow. who had pleaded guilty in November 2004. The research. Wellington . bonds. and found water movement was beneficial. the Ministry of Fisheries or regional councils.The custodial sentence was not deferred pending an application for home detention. remove trade barriers and develop export agreements with key trading partners.The aim was to improve market access for aquaculture products such as Greenshell mussels. Science & Technology Phil works at NIWA’s cold-water aquaculture base at Mahanga Bay in Wellington.“With the business in brandbuilding mode. Iakopo Faatau and Moevao Neti. Divers fed half the kina. “Part of the strategy will focus on identifying the increasing number of regulatory barriers facing the KINA RESEARCH WINS AWARD Kina roe can fetch $70 per kilo on the domestic market. He placed wild-caught kina in sea cages out in the bay and fed them a specially formulated diet for 10 weeks. Farmers were looking down the barrel of a host of new charges.The offence was in breach of section 233 of the Fisheries Act 1996. ac SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 5 . the sale proceeds of $2250 and the vehicle the paua was found in to be forfeited to the Crown. its potential is enormous. when the court ordered the 117. made no difference to the roe yield. winner of the agriculture. and farmers could not absorb additional fees and charges. But holding kina in sea cages with the right diet and handling can more than double their roe yield. Faatau and Neti. Government officials were reviewing an aquaculture implementation plan that listed 14 separate projects led by the Ministry for the Environment. were imprisoned for 12 months on March 9. while buying 1003 individual shucked ordinary paua for $2250 from two Johnsonville men. Exporters also faced added costs in sending their products to key markets in the United States. won him the agriculture. Lorna Holton.9kg and had an estimated value of $10. the Department of Conservation. He had previously pleaded guilty. Judge Bruce Davidson said he took a starting point of 12 months imprisonment and reduced the sentence by four months in response to the defendant’s guilty plea and other mitigating factors. receives his award from the Minister of Research. Maharey . “Not one of these projects adds up all the extra costs (the) industry is likely to face if the projects are implemented in their current form”. substantially more than rock lobster. Qatar”. industry as well as tariff and trade issues.9kg of paua. packed in 11 supermarket bags. 2004.” AGENCY WINS SALMON COMPANY PITCH Auckland’s Republik Communications has won the Regal Marlborough Salmon advertising account after a five-way pitch.of enthusiastic salmon anglers. Chow was apprehended at Johnsonville on August 25. including a range of tariffs and stringent product and phytosanitary testing.” The industry needed to expose costs across the sector. forestry and fishing section of the MacDiarmid Young Phil James. the government needed to clearly understand how regulatory charges impacted on profitability. Republik director Paul McNamara says Regal is making a big splash in New Zealand and export markets. including coastal occupancy charges. they didn’t mind being removed from the water for cleaning and feeding. Steve Awards. A great deal of credit goes to all those volunteers who gave so freely of their time to be involved in the project.600.

000 litres per hour drawn from several metres under .FARMING SEAHORSES an environmental saviour PHOTOS BY KEITH INGRAM & COURTESY OF THE SEAHORSE FARM BY KEITH INGRAM The nursery Juvenile seahorses The New Zealand potbelly seahorse I n recent years the demand for seahorses to satisfy the evergrowing Chinese medicinal market has cause huge local depletions worldwide of this friendly critter of the sea. Situated on the southern end of Napier’s Marine Parade as one heads towards Clive. Seawater comes from two intake wells capable of providing over 200. inanaga. including whitebait. Unfortunately. “We are fortunate to have access to both fresh and sea water.This factor and recent focus on the CITES agreement encouraged us to look deeper at the opportunity to farm seahorses as a viable aquaculture activity. Lisa Welch.The sad part about this is that while customs and other management agencies knew it was happening . It is owned and operated by HBA Aquaculture Ltd. Even our local waters are not exempt.These seahorses are mainly sold in pairs as a cold saltwater aquarium species.Today the farm trades in live paddle crabs and various species of ornamentals. many of these folk have recognised an opportunity to catch and quietly export them as dried seahorses. as it must have a consistent supply of good quality water. is one of New Zealand’s two seahorse farms.The spiny red lobster pueruli (Jasus edwardsii) was 6 ■ NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 caught in the wild and then on-grown primarily for the restaurant trade. in what was an old wool scourer’s building.” says the company’s administration officer. new rules for catching wild pueruli ended the viability of this business opportunity. A site on the foreshore of a coastal beach was an essential factor in setting up the farm. The primary function of the farm is now breeding and growing two saltwater species of seahorse. which thrives in the temperate waters and was once abundant on our coastline. as a steady private market practice has been happening under our very noses for years.With the increase in new arrivals to New Zealand. banded kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus) and koaro as supporting products. with the mainstay being the New Zealand potbelly seahorse Hippocampus abdominalis. who originally developed the site in 1996 for on-growing wild rock lobsters.no one recognised the risk.

” says Lisa.000 seahorses each year from babies to adults. HBA Aquaculture has had to change direction and diversify greatly.Today it is quickly becoming a rarity in many accessible parts of our coast. it is now entirely self-sufficient. the United States and Canada.000 seahorses annually.” says Lisa. Spiky and Yellish are two of the popular resident critters VIP. and the tropical kuda variety for $100 per pair. In the nine years of its existence. ranging from families to travellers and school parties.AC04 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 7 .“These are being increasingly used as ornaments and in selected art works. “There are two vastly different uses for our seahorses. with the capacity to increase production to 200.” Currently there are around 75.With the introduction of CITES regulations controlling the international trade and sale of seahorses.The water is stored in a 500. the farm has been successful in being able to obtain CITES export approval for all orders to date. But it was the seahorses that we had come to look at.“To aid in future growth we have a strong emphasis on research and development of new species and products. “Air-dried seahorses make up the balance of our seahorse sales. The fresh water supply originates from a deep aquifer. can visit the farm.000 seahorses on the site. export orders go to Japan. While the farm’s original broodstock came from local sources in the wild. A recent new addition to the farm’s breeding programme is Hippocampus kudu.Visitors get to see not only seahorses but the range of ornamentals.” On the international market.000 litre reservoir. The farm is also open to the public and operates guided tours daily. and grows some 50. “We market them throughout New Zealand to pet shops. where it is drawn at a cool eight degrees Celsius. and of course the hundreds of paddle crabs which pass through the farm. The potbelly seahorse was once common around the coastline of New Zealand and Australia. The National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is currently studying the numbers in the wild. with a large portion catering for the traditional Chinese medicinal market.These animals are ready for sale at around eight to ten months of age.000 or even 300.” says Lisa. from where it is fed to a variety of flow-through and reticulated systems. and hopes to have this research available soon. including large rock lobsters and packhorse crayfish. where the potbelly variety sells for $50 per pair. On a busy day during summer up to 1000 visitors. which is tropical and requires warm water.the gravel on the beach. This diversification into tourism has enabled the farm to continue to fund its development.

In world demand. During the two-day courtship the male opens the top of his pouch and the female sits on it and injects the eggs during an upward mating spiral.co. their offspring are removed and kept in different tanks. after which she will choose her mate.theseahorsefarm. The Seahorse Farm is another example of how a bit of lateral thinking can add value in developing the core aquaculture business by diversifying into tourism. with the added bonus of relieving pressure on our wild stocks. Kuda will breed five or six times a year.AC01 8 ■ NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 .Around 100 broodstock animals are kept in a 3000 litre tank made up of an equal number of males and females. although in captivity they have a life expectancy of around six years. The female produces the eggs. He then fertilises the eggs internally. once the seahorses give birth.After another two months. The hatchling seahorses are removed every morning and placed into separate tanks. China currently consumes some 20 million seahorses for medicinal use annually.These young fry are fed for the first three months on a diet of 72-hour-old enriched artemia three times a day. In the controlled environment of the farm. Seahorses which die naturally or as controlled culls are dried for the tourist trade as ornamentals.co. the hatchlings are trained to take the larger live mysis shrimps and then at six months on to frozen shrimp. These are then transferred to the nursery for on-growing. the tropical species Hippopotamus kuda. the survival rate of these live fry is less than one percent. where the top of the water is darkened. The second species at the farm. the males start displaying and strutting their stuff.AC07 VIP.To reduce any chance of interbreeding.This is to protect the threat to wild stocks being harvested for the Chinese medicinal market.Adults on display of which three-quarters are the potbelly variety and the rest kuda.The CITES agreement allows a person to possess up to four seahorses in captivity. or fry.nz or see www. Out in the ocean. On receiving this scent.nz ac VIP. Every seahorse must be counted and recorded to meet both the CITES agreement and New Zealand aquaculture rules on seahorses. during which their diet is changed to hard tucker consisting mainly of frozen mysis shrimps. the survival rate is around 50 to 60 percent.After that. and when she is ready she releases a chemical scent into the water to tell the male that she is “hot to trot”. has been developed to meet market demand and diversity. and around 30 to 35 days later he gives birth to up to 900 live babies. Broodstock from mature seahorses are kept separate and are all over 12 months old.The potbelly seahorse can live to 10 years in the wild and breed three times a year. they are ready for sale as live seahorses. For further information email info@theseahorsefarm. The fry are on-grown for six months.

” she says. says she is not in favour of using hormones for native species. She was able to improve egg size and quality. She earned her doctorate at Aston University in Birmingham in fish nutrition. who has New Zealand nationality. In Japan they were fed with dried shark eggs.They experimented with different food products but found the eels difficult to keep alive. but she enjoys Mahurangi because of the challenge.Tagried is now based in England. salmon and rainbow trout. for she leaves her husband and three sons behind in England several times a year to fly to New Zealand and lead the research at the institute. Nor did they have the correct incubators. Dr Kurwie developed a programme for biological weed and algae control by hatching and rearing grass carp and silver carp to 250g of weight.“We can’t do several trials.“When I first worked with eels I was even scared to handle them. Dr Kurwie. repeatedly producing viable ova and hatching them in commercial quantities. Dr Kurwie emigrated to New Zealand with her family in 1997 after fleeing Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq. leading to robust offspring and much higher customer satisfaction. and leaves her husband and family several times a year to fly to New Zealand for extended periods each eel season. It comes as no surprise to hear that these are very difficult to obtain in New Zealand. Another problem was trying to synchronise male and female eels so they were both sexually productive at the same time. Earlier in her career. she spent 1999 and 2000 at the Kestrel Valley Fish Farm breeding and raising ornamental and cold water fish. as it takes seven to 13 weeks for the eels to spawn. and the decision will have to be made about whether to spend money repairing it or use the funds for research.Another example is a broken microscope which sits on a bench. Nor can we get hormones from overseas. It took two years to achieve this breakthrough.EELS DRAW SCIENTIST ACROSS THE OCEANS found that few of the fertilised eggs hatched. Repairing or replacing it will cost thousands of dollars. Japanese aquaculture researchers had previously tried to breed freshwater eels. Following her appointment to the institute. Dr Tagried Kurwie ac VIP.Anguilla australis.AC06 Five years of study into the New Zealand short-finned eel has yielded a rich reward for Dr Tagried Kurwie and her team at Mahurangi Technical Institute. but last year they SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 9 . due to the shape of their mouths. Limited funding at the college means compromises often have to be made. Dr Kurwie has also spent time researching New Zealand native fish. in particular the common carp.” she says.“We have a better growth rate in the laboratory and then in the field. so they had to try a different formula. Now she has bonded with them and finds the work very satisfying. She has finally achieved her goal ofsuccessfully breeding the New Zealand shortfin eel.” Tagried is in international demand. such as grey mullet. In some ways it has been a labour of love.

which is when eel farmers take them for rearing. the head “techie”. of which there will of course be greater numbers than previously. However. temperature control equipment and a never-ending list of bits and bobs. In fact it was an “embarrassment of riches”. NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 The visibility issue was eventually overcome by using a black light of the type teenagers often use in their bedrooms to view fluorescent posters. Adrian Paarman and Kim Pierce.The plan now is to secure commercial premises nearby and construct an entire new facility with the best in containment and filtration equipment. the aquaculture research team at Mahurangi Technical Institute has successfully bred the New Zealand shortfin eel. finally achieved its goal of reliably and repeatedly producing viable ova and hatching them in commercial quantities. fertilise the eggs and take them through to nearly hatching stage. One luxury the research team is anticipating is having enough room to move. “We were at the point of giving up. and had been able to achieve this more or less to order for some time. At one point the hatchery looked more like a 1960s disco than a research laboratory! As of this writing the larvae have been taken through to five days old from hatching. “If we had not succeeded this season we would have ended the project. So much so that the team is certain that an earlier hatching went unnoticed. plus the laboratory.BREAKTHROUGH in breeding shortfin eels BY DAVID COOPER FROM LEFT: David Cooper.” The work so far has been carried out in the laboratory at MTI and in a “mini-lab” specifically constructed within a fibreglass shipping container. One unforeseen challenge that arose at this point was the fact that the newly hatched larvae. and this of course becomes the focus of the research for the near future. the MTI will be seeking interest from potential investment partners to fund the required research and development of the process through to full commercialisation. especially Japan. However. To this end. Dr Kurwie is quietly confident that she can achieve this over the next two years. After five years of trying and a considerable investment in money. Incidentally. Up to this point the team had been able to successfully mature the adult eels. on this occasion not only did the eel eggs hatch.This feat was repeated later that same week. and the logistical problem then became what to do with them all.The major breakthrough came on June 30 this year. as an empty egg was found at one stage during microscopic examination of the embryos in a batch preceding the spectacularly successful ones. the director of MTI. and we need to keep up the momentum.” she says. with so much going on in such a small space there have been considerable logistical nightmares to contend with. “It is our preference to try and keep the benefits of this research in New Zealand as much as possible. so the team has a busy time ahead. Before joining the MTI. . led by Dr Tagried Kurwie. we have had serious interest already from overseas. Dr Tagried Kurwie and Kim Pierce 10 ■ I n a major scientific and technological breakthrough that is likely to have major economic and conservation benefits. Adrian was involved for many years in constructing and installing live seafood-holding systems. As can be imagined. Adrian.This far exceeds any expectations for this year’s research project. All this will need to be in place by January 2006. The feeding trials alone will require 20 different populations (at least) and therefore 20 different holding systems. who confesses to being “aquaculture crazy”. at less than 2mm and totally transparent.” says Decker. as we were running out of ideas. The focus now is to raise the larvae through the marine leptocephalus stage and on to the glass eel stage. “This has now got too big and too important to plod along on our limited budget.” The eel breeding project is the brainchild of Paul Decker.You can bet that others are also working in the same area somewhere in the world and the need to stay one step ahead is paramount. were almost impossible to see. is also the tutor of the Diploma in Marine Technology. nay tens of thousands. they hatched in the thousands. it is amazing how silicon air tubing glows in this light.Then there are the holding facilities for the broodstock. and Dr Kurwie is now confident that the procedure can be repeated reliably. Anguilla australis. and we now need to get serious. The responsibility of building and maintaining the new facility falls to the technicians on this project. the team.

Unfortunately. Kim Pierce The TBG grant was made possible by the professional However. His enthusiasm for the project. All the photographs of various adult eels. most conservative estimates. David Cooper. the MTI’s leading According to a recent Australian government report on the qualification. mean it when we say there but I guess somebody has to do it.This eggs. equipment provides much The final member of the team is myself.These funds have made this milestone possible. up eels. and by the active eel bent on investment consultant. has a strong focus on training people for the international eel industry. Gould’s has supplied migrating fence failed due to a power eels to the project from day one and has never failed to cut (it now has a battery supply good quality. and the students have undoubtedly fetch between US$750 per kilo to US$10. who acted as an adventure. fence to keep them in. at the Mahurangi Technical Institute campus in Warkworth. embryos and larval eels are his. is an electric fence around As with all projects.The benefited greatly from the opportunities offered by being in world-wide take per year is between 350 and 1150 tonnes! such a “hands on” aquaculture environment and so close to You can see from the above figures that even using the groundbreaking research. an activity also carried out of glass eels and elvers to provide animals for raising. as this was all that the funding application and reporting procedures (not to was available at the time.The weak point in this industry is qualifications. back-up system). At present he is working on our own nuclear reactor made entirely from string! Eel hatchling 24 hours old In addition to caring for the livestock on a day-to-day basis and assisting Dr Kurwie. it has received some timely financial support from the already a little on the “stiff’ Foundation for Science Research and Technology via a side by the time the Technology for Business Growth grant over the last two situation was discovered. the original eels all recovered well from their with a very services of Ian Gray of Ibis Group.The adult eeland staff at the MTI were all treated to a sample of the end product. it years. the farming of Anguillid eels is a significant PAUL DECKER HAS been involved in many aquaculture industry. amusement when visitors Despite the rather grand title of “project manager”. and was decided that we their investment has secured a significant scientific and needed to get some backeconomic achievement for New Zealand. so to speak! Internationally. migration to the floor was Although Paul Decker has largely funded the project to this in order. So it was off to the smokehouse for the new eels. The Diploma in Marine Technology. and some of these have been quite humorous. although it did set progress back a bit. Adrian has that rare and valuable ability to make anything. the support of suppliers and other the inside edge of the tanks! organisations has been instrumental in bringing this exercise There was also the time this far. In particular we would like to credit Gould in 2004 when the electric Aquahaven from Canterbury.000 per kilo. just in case. research. time the back-ups arrived they were surplus to requirements. As some were stage. therefore the reliable supply of juveniles to grow on. not to mention tertiary provider runs mostly marine-based courses and increasing regulation. Of course this resource is under pressure from a degrading Decker started the MTI in 1990. most notably the breeding of grass eel’s biology.Yet the unexpected path to liberty company has never failed to supply anything other than a and decided that a mass quality service and we are grateful for this. It’s not nearly as much fun as playing with the eels. escape interest in the whole field of aquaculture and knowledge of The back-up eels were all quite large. well packaged eels on time. Gould’s the eels noticed this must surely rank the MTI as its smallest customer. often from not much. wild-harvested glass eels currently aquaculture industry. Kim holding tanks are is Pierce has been documenting the entire project equipped with an electric photographically. there is considerable scope for a commercial venture supplying glass eels. the entire industry relies on wild-caught stocks carp and silver carp under contract. there have been many challenges along the way. and they would have soaked up a mention his patience) have been greatly appreciated. positive fortune in hormones if they had been used in the As always. and the privately owned environment and pressure of fishing. my role have been “shocked” to is really to do the paperwork and procure the necessary discover that we really do supplies. ac SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 11 . Of course As a large commercial eel processor and shipper.As well as having a firm Eel hatchling one hour old Eel hatchling 4 days old understanding of the biological and engineering requirements. due to the complex nature of the ventures in New Zealand.

The footbath is positioned to ensure that staff and visitors have to walk through it before entering the farm.THE IMPORTANCE OF Good Biosecurity in Salmon Farming BY DR SCOTT PEDDIE (PATTERSON PEDDIE CONSULTING LTD) Disinfectant foot bath and spray at the entrance point of a cage unit. are traditionally associated with the food processing industry. Although New Zealand salmon farmers are perhaps more fortunate than most as a consequence of the absence of serious infectious diseases. one should be cognisant of the fact that disease can be introduced or transferred by a multitude of routes. discusses the advantages of having effective protocols in place at the farm level. the most important of which are outlined below. Indeed. Sakana Veterinary Services Ltd. and ❚ enhanced image of the product in the marketplace. The principles of hazard analysis and critical control point. including aquaculture. – Dr Mark Sheppard. In many cases. primary production sectors. HAZARD ANALYSIS The key disease “hazards” in the production process can be identified by asking the question.The same principles apply within a farm unit. where the goal is to prevent disease from spreading between groups (eg from salmon broodstock to smolts reared in the same locality). The most obvious of these include ❚ reduced diseased treatment costs ❚ improved productivity via enhanced fish performance ❚ improved quality of the final product reaching the marketplace (ie fewer “downgrades” as a result of visible lesions and poor external condition).“Where can pathogens enter the system?” In this respect. However. WHAT IS BIOSECURITY? In simple terms. including ❚ equipment and nets ❚ the movement of personnel 12 ■ NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 . This article explains what biosecurity is. commonly use the HACCP approach as an integral part of biosecurity planning and control. Canada Figure 1: Examples of critical control points and the preventative actions required G ood biosecurity is a key feature of responsible aquaculture wherever it is practised. biosecurity is defined as preventing pathogens (disease-causing agents) from entering or leaving a fish-farming unit. or HACCP. infectious disease outbreaks have forced fish farmers to think about the principles of biosecurity and how it applies to them and their practices.The HACCP process consists of several steps. farm-level biosecurity is still of the utmost importance. outlines the key elements of a good biosecurity programme. and emphasises the importance of effective cleaning and disinfection procedures. effective biosecurity is essential to maintain the status quo and guard against disease outbreaks occurring in the future. A multitude of financial benefits flow from the implementation of a comprehensive biosecurity programme.

chemicals used and outcomes). Biosecurity in Aquaculture Production Systems: exclusion of pathogens and other desirables.of the dirt to waste. By implementing simple HACCP procedures the farmer can help minimise the risk of disease introduction and transfer.This stage is essential to ensure effective auditing. Some examples of critical control points and the potential actions that can be put in place to reduce/eliminate hazards are presented in figure 1. the first step is always to thoroughly clean surfaces and equipment with an appropriate detergent.co.nz SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 13 . – Dr Mark Sheppard.split up dirt particles ❚ emulsifying . As a rule of thumb. a complex topic beyond the scope of this short article. Canada EFFECTIVE CLEANING AND DISINFECTING PROCEDURES ARE CENTRAL TO A GOOD BIOSECURITY PROGRAMME ❚ ❚ ❚ ❚ ❚ boats and vehicles stock transfer wild fish and other aquatic life avian and mammalian predators. CRITICAL LIMITS In this phase of the process.floating dirt particles ❚ carrying . the disinfectant can act effectively to remove the remaining pathogens. its chemical composition. Once cleaning has taken place. Parnell. REMEDIAL ACTION Instructions should be made available to determine what remedial action should be taken when critical limits are not met. World Aquaculture Society. Periodical process audits by outside agencies is often the most effective way of doing this.AC07 PLEASE CONTACT: SHIPWRIGHT AGENCIES LIMITED PO Box 37-741. Such a proactive approach is essential to ensure the continued financial viability of aquaculture enterprises in New Zealand.As the efficacy of a disinfectant is markedly reduced in the presence of organic matter. CLEANING AND DISINFECTING Effective cleaning and disinfecting procedures are central to a good biosecurity programme. Auckland.A farmer disinfects his waterproof clothing before entering a marine farming unit.decreasing surface tension ❚ dispersing . FURTHER READING Lee C-S and O’Bryen PJ (2001). CONCLUSION Biosecurity is a vital element in the effective prevention and management of disease in the fish-farming industry. removing dirt and debris allows for an 85 percent reduction in the number of micro-organisms present in any given situation. action can be taken at the critical control points to either reduce or eliminate specific hazards. timing. Sakana Veterinary Services Ltd. ISBN 1888807121 ac UNISEAL RECORD KEEPING Comprehensive records should be kept containing details of the cleaning and disinfection procedures undertaken (ie the staff involved. and ❚ sequestring .The mode of action of the disinfectant depends on VIP. Ph: 09 524 8639 Fax 09 524 8731 Mob: 021 986 341 Email: sales@uniseal.floating oil and fat ❚ suspending . MONITORING Procedures should be put in place to regularly monitor the efficacy of cleaning/disinfection procedures. the acceptable limits for each hazard is determined and documented. and incoming water supply CRITICAL CONTROL POINTS Once the hazards have been identified. Detergents work by ❚ wettening .dissolving salts.

MAP has quickly become the dominant packaging method in Belgium and France. . In a later contribution I will focus on technical aspects of production. Europe’s largest musselconsuming countries. quality and price. New Zealand leads the countries exporting to the US.AC01 14 ■ NZ AQUACULTURE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 Although the frozen Greenshell mussel is a different product. precise portion control. Canadians exporting to the US face a similar exchange rate problem to the New Zealand industry. Modified atmosphere packaging. US growers of blue and Mediterranean mussels say that the low GSM price hurts them. Consumers and the hospitality trade want longer shelf life. convenient products make mussel cooking easier and consumption more enjoyable. both at home and in the US. and are also concerned about growing competition from Chile. VIP.The EU is the world’s biggest mussel producer. mainly from Chile.These two countries farm blue mussels. no mess. New. and consistent supply. AQUACULTURE GROUP. quick and easy cooking. and in addition.This leaves four percent of the EU market for GSM. Newfoundland (Canada) from July 3 to 5. It was held in St John’s. or MAP. no drip loss.GROWING DEMAND for mussels BY HENRY KASPAR MANAGER. This article summarises my notes from the marketing presentations. followed by Canada (mainly Prince Edward Island) and Chile. it imports 17 percent of its consumption. and this has been aided by the involvement of celebrity chefs in promotion. brings all these benefits. at least to some extent. There is a strong demand in the United States for both fresh and frozen mussels. which are exported to the US live. European demand for mussels is also strong.This will lead to a growing demand over many years for mussels. Mussels stay alive for up to 10 days in a no-leak bag filled with a mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Consumers worldwide are currently learning about the health benefits of seafood. CAWTHRON INSTITUTE J onathan Large of Elaine Bay Aquaculture Ltd and the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council and I were the New Zealanders among the 50 delegates at the second International Mussel Forum. as well as other seafood.

Production has been declining and may well fall even more. The Chairman of the TOKM. “The settlement has lifted a cloud of uncertainty from the aquaculture industry. Newfoundland has large tracts of water waiting to be developed. and would assist in regional development. the beneficiaries set out in the Maori Fisheries Bill.TOKM will consider buying existing marine farms. Under the act.These demands can be met with quality schemes operated by individual companies. The Netherlands is a major processor and trader of mussels. food safety monitoring (microbiological. both new or existing. development and employment. to allocate aquaculture space to iwi under the Maori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement Act passed late last year. Jones said the allocated space would first be sought from aquaculture management areas being created by regional councils. depending on when space is transferred from the government. industry attention is focusing on areas with good mussel production potential.“It’s clear that iwi are going to play a much greater role in aquaculture in New Zealand.“The certainty will boost investment. and boasts a fast and hassle-free consent process. It also signals a change from allocating fishing assets to Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi. Last year. It would learn from the experience of its predecessor. Maori get 20 percent of all aquaculture space in New Zealand. eco-labelling).“The allocation of this settlement will be efficient and. Worldwide.This may well lead to more mussel production in US national waters and a reduction of the US seafood deficit of more than $8 billion per year. Shane Jones. due to restrictions on wild spat collection. brands. the Netherlands adds more than 50 percent value to mussels by packaging them for the retail market! Why should an aquaculture scientist listen to two days of marketing presentations? Cawthron’s GSM research is increasingly focused on future product characteristics: a good understanding of market trends is required for planning long-term research.AC07 Consumers increasingly demand food safety and product differentiation. the Waitangi Fisheries Commission. says the allocations will not suffer from the same delays that occurred over the allocations of the resources of wild fisheries. biotoxins).IWI HAVE BIG FUTURE IN AQUACULTURE The government has appointed Te Ohu Kai Moana. Production in the traditional mussel-growing areas has been steady in the past few years and is unlikely to grow as fast as production in new areas.” Benson-Pope said. countries or regions (for example. also passed late last year. If that does not reach 20 percent.” VIP.The US Congress is currently debating offshore aquaculture legislation. the body responsible for allocating fishing assets to Maori.” Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope said on July 27 that the settlement was an integral part of the Aquaculture Act. protected designation of origin. expeditious. and could not keep up with the demand. Newfoundland sent a good portion of its 2300 tonnes of blue mussels to Europe. and product traceability. Consumers will respond to these confidencegenerating schemes with more product loyalty. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 05 NZ AQUACULTURE ■ 15 . However.” TOKM will receive about $1 million to fund allocations to mandated iwi.

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