Conference debates ‘new frontier’ of ocean farming
A GROUP of leading scientists were due to meet in Nelson, New Zealand, early this month to debate moving aquaculture away from sheltered coastal areas to open ocean farming.
The event was being hosted by New Zealand’s largest independent science organisation, the Cawthron Institute, at its inaugural Open Oceans aquaculture symposium, titled ‘Unlocking the potential of our oceans’.
Under discussion at the meeting – from August 5-7 - was how open ocean aquaculture developments in both shellfish and finfish farming could revolutionise the global aquaculture industry.
Cawthron Institute CEO Professor Charles Eason said aquaculture in a number of countries, including New Zealand, was being constrained by limited inshore farm space.
The new frontier, he believes, is open ocean aquaculture, where there are large tracts of consented space available, but also where farming in exposed waters was challenging.
This will mean new engineering concepts and farming approaches to provide confidence for investors.
‘The Cawthron Institute is advancing open ocean aquaculture technology through the development of new tools and methods to cost effectively farm shellfish and finfish,’ he said.
Professor Eason said the symposium was a unique opportunity to bring together industry and global research leaders.
Those due to attend included Hans V. Bjelland, director of Exposed Aquaculture at the Centre for research based innovation from Trondheim, Norway, and Arndt Hildebrandt from the Ludwig-Franzius Institute for Hydraulic, Estuarine, and Coastal Engineering in Hanover, Germany.
Cawthron’s aquaculture specialist Kevin Heasman, who is leading the development of the methods to farm finfish and shellfish in the open ocean, was also addressing the symposium.
Above: Nelson, New Zealand