If you are interested in a career in Aquaculture we have a number of training providers listed
The Social and Community Effects of Salmon Farming and Rearing

NZIER report on the economic contribution of marine farming in the Marlborough region

THE BLUE MUSSEL PROJECT: Research into a solution to the oversettlement of blue mussels.
90 MILE BEACH PROJECT: Research to assess the quality and viability of spat before it leaves Kaitaia.
MARINE FARM COMPLIANCE: Marine farm compliance audit partnership programme
Frequently Asked Questions

Who can become a member of MFA?
There are three classes of membership.
Ordinary Member
An Ordinary Member is any person or entity that owns, leases or subleases any marine farm or part thereof in the territorial waters of the Marlborough, Nelson or the Tasman Regions of New Zealand.

Associate Member
An Associate Member is any person or entity that has an interest in the marine farming industry but does not own, lease or sublease any marine farm.

Life Member
Is any person or entity whether an Ordinary Member or otherwise approved by the Executive Committee and ratified by the AGM.

Click here to download a membership application form.


Where are the major Aquaculture areas in New Zealand?
Northland, Coromandel, Tasman & Golden Bays, Marlborough, Banks Peninsula & Stewart Island. Follow this link to a Map outlining the major aquacultural areas in New Zealand.

How many people are employed in the Aquaculture industry?
In Marlborough there are approximately 1,000 people directly employed in aquaculture. In addition, many more are involved in the "downstream or flow on" effects of the industry.


When did commercial farming of mussels begin?
Commercial farming and processing of mussels began in the late 1970's but did not really expand until the early 1980's.

How many mussel farms are there?
There are approximately 645 mussel farms in New Zealand. The average lease is between three and five hectares although farms may vary from one hectare to 20 or more. Farmers do not own their farms but are granted a coastal permit by Regional Councils to use the water space.

How is a mussel farm set up?
Each three hectare farm would typically have nine longlines of 110 metres each. Each longline would support 3,500 to 4,000 metres of crop line. Each long line is supported by 50 to 70 polypropylene floats, each of which can support one tonne.

Can I view a mussel farm?
Local tourist operators in both Havelock and Picton operate cruises to view the mussel farms.

What type of industry training is available?
The Queen Charlotte College offer Aquaculture courses at year 11, 12 & 13, and the Seafood Industry Training Organisation provides industry specific training. See the careers page to find out more.

How are mussels grown?
The bulk of the industry's spat (baby mussels) are gathered on 90 mile beach at the tip of the North Island where, at irregular times throughout the year, considerable quantities of newly settled spat attached to seaweed are washed up on the beaches. This spat is collected and quickly transported by air or truck to growers in other parts of the country.

Local spat catching also occurs in Golden Bay and Marlborough in selected bays. The spat is seeded out on spat ropes using cotton stocking at approximately 1000 to 5000 spat per metre of rope. After three to six months, the nursery lines are lifted and the young spat are stripped from the ropes and reseeded on a final production rope at approximately 150 to 200 per metre. Mussels take between 15 and 18 months to grow to a harvestable shell size of 90 to 100mm. 


In addition to wild caught spat, work has been going on by Spat NZ (a primary growth partnership between industry and MPI) since 2015 to understand the mysteries of breeding mussels to enable them to produce hatchery spat. The aim is to provide industry with a consistent supply of good quality spat. You can visit Spat NZ’s website for their latest news here


What do mussels eat?
The diet of a mussel includes single cell algae and planktonic animals. Mussels are filter feeders and each mussel is capable of filtering about 300 litres of water per day. With approximately 900 million mussels grown commercially in Marlborough Sounds, this means a massive 270 million tonnes of water is moved by mussels every day!

What is the Latin name for Mussels?
The Latin name for the green lipped mussel grown in the Marlborough Sounds is Perna canaliculus.

What is the difference between a male and female mussel?
The different sexes of mussels can be identified by their colour. The flesh of a sexually mature male is creamy white, while a female is a reddish apricot.

How do we ensure the Mussels for sale in the shops are safe to eat?
New Zealand's aquaculture industry has built its reputation on seafood produced in a clean safe environment and leads the world in its Quality Management Programmes

What is the nutritional content of a Mussel?
Follow the link to a PDF containing the nutritional content of the New Zealand Greenshell™ Mussel here.

For more information see the Aquaculture New Zealand Website www.aquaculture.org.nz 

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