Science investments a major boost for New Zealand

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The odds of your favourite seafood coming from the aquaculture industry are getting better.

Aquaculture now supplies more than one-quarter of the total global seafood production, and it is expected to supply 50% by the year 2025, according to the 2001 NIWA annual report, which was released today.

"To satisfy this global demand for seafood, and to increase New Zealand's export earnings, we are building a new aquaculture facility at Bream Bay in Northland," said NIWA's Chief Executive, Paul Hargreaves.

"The new facility will focus on warm-water aquaculture, with a wide range of partners, including seafood companies, Maori, entrepreneurs, and regional business and government agencies. It will target high-value species such as snapper, kingfish, seahorses, and eels, as well as some other species that are already farmed."

This is just one of the many significant investments in research, science, and technology highlighted in the 2001 NIWA annual report.

Another is the new swath-mapping system installed on NIWA's deepwater research vessel Tangaroa. The system was recently used in Antarctica to collect data for the first official hydrographic chart of the Ross Sea. It is being used extensively in surveys around New Zealand in support of New Zealand’s scientific research, and it has considerable potential for fisheries research. The system produces high-resolution maps of the seabed showing submarine faults, landslides, seamounts and volcanoes, and the scouring effects of deep-ocean currents.

"In recent years, NIWA's strategic capital investments have included a Fourier spectrophotometer, which keeps us at the forefront of ozone depletion research, and a Cray supercomputer, which provides a foundation for predicting changes in our environment," Mr Hargreaves said.

NIWA's annual revenue has more than doubled to $77 million since its establishment nine years ago. In the year ended 30 June 2001, the company posted a healthy pretax profit of $7.3 million.

Although NIWA is New Zealand's leading provider of water and atmospheric information, research, and consultancy services, faced with static investment in core sciences here, the company is pursuing opportunities overseas.

"We have established subsidiary companies in the US and Australia to allow us to continue to improve and strengthen our core skill bases and the quality of our science," said Mr Hargreaves.

For further information contact:

Mr Paul Hargreaves
NIWA Chief Executive
Ph: +64-9-375 2090
p.hargreaves@niwa.co.nz

[NIWA]