OUR RESEARCHERS WENT TO THE BEACH TO HELP BUILD A $300 MILLION INDUSTRY.
Since the 1990s, Cloudy Bay Clams has been harvesting tuatuas and other surf clams. The company saw the potential to grow a much larger business, but first it wanted to make sure its ideas made economic and ecological sense.
So Cloudy Bay Clams formed a partnership with AUT University to develop a sustainable new fishery. The surf clam industry currently yields about $10 million a year but there are indications a $300 million export industry is well within reach.
AUT Associate Professor of Applied Ecology Lindsey White was commissioned to survey the Foxton coastline. Based on this survey, the Ministry for Primary Industries set a quota of 2,800 tonnes from 42 kilometers of the Manawatu coastline – essentially doubling the clam quota for the whole country.
AUT researchers are running a host of projects including biomass studies and investigations into nutraceutical benefits. With no fewer than four PhD projects and involvement from three different AUT schools, it’s a textbook example of our interdisciplinary approach. To cap it all, the project won the BNZ People’s Choice Supreme Award at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.
Mike Ponder, Cloudy Bay Group General Manager “AUT has been key to our ability to grow, employ and develop this exciting export for New Zealand.”