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Tasman’s blue economy cluster has caught a half a million dollar cash injection from the Government.
Blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean’s ecosystem.
Tasman based Moananui – a partnership between industry, the Nelson Regional Development Agency, councils, government and the community – is focused on driving Aotearoa’s blue economy products, services, technology, research and capability.
The region boasts 30% of the nation’s economic activity in fishing, aquaculture and seafood processing, but with minds set on increasing sustainability an announcement of a cash injection for development was welcomed by regional leaders.
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On Thursday the Government announced Moananui would receive $500,000 across two years from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures Fund for its development.
Moananui will foster blue economy organisations and strengthen connections and collaborations between private firms, public sector entities and knowledge institutions, with a goal of transforming New Zealand into a global leader for blue economy innovation and collaboration.
Oceans and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said the project will help local businesses establish connections, stimulate innovation, and attract investors.
“New Zealand has a lot to offer and, equally, there’s a lot we can learn from similar clusters overseas, such as in USA, Canada, Norway and Iceland.
“This project is a great example of Government working in partnership with local businesses and regional leaders to enhance our competitive advantage overseas, create more jobs to boost the local Nelson Tasman economy, and focus efforts on low carbon, sustainable initiatives.”
Chairman of Wakatū Inc Paul Morgan said the iwi corporation was a leader in the Te Tauihu Strategy, a long-term intergenerational economic development plan, and its eight priorities which included the blue ocean’s strategy.
“Great to participate in Moananui and support the kaupapa, including the success of securing [the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures] funding bid for ecosystems development,” Morgan said.
Chief executive of the development agency Fiona Wilson said Moananui was seen as a priority investment.
“[It’s] primed and ready to leverage regional, inter-regional and international opportunities and make a major contribution to the national economy,” Wilson said.
“Initiatives such as this are central to achieving Government’s ambitions to create a low carbon, socially inclusive and resource efficient economy.”
The agency has been funding Moananui, so having the seed funding from the Government would be a big help while a sustainable business model was being established, Wilson said.
Nelson City Council mayor Nick Smith said the opportunities for Tasman and Aotearoa for the blue economy was huge.
“Our area of ocean 21 times greater than our land mass,” Smith said.
“Nelson and Te Tauihu is the natural home for the development of these ocean opportunities with over 400 maritime-related businesses based here.
Smith said the oceans were “a new frontier for economic development internationally” and Nelson had an opportunity to lead the development with Moananui.
“The challenge is in unlocking the promise and potential of New Zealand’s blue economy is in building collaboration and fuelling innovation across the sector,” he said.