Murihiku Southland becomes a world leader in aquaculture innovation and best practice, producing premium products in a sustainable manner, which is a $1 billion industry for the region.

open ocean

Murihiku Southland has an opportunity to be the number one region in the world for aquaculture, utilising our natural advantages of a cooler climate, clear waters and 3,600kms of coastline.

It is a significant opportunity for diversification of our regional economy and builds on a proud 50-year foundation. 

Aquaculture could grow to become a $1 billion industry by 2035 contributing one third of Aotearoa New Zealand’s $3 billon goal.  One possible scenario sees aquaculture growing the region’s population by 5,180 with 2,940 new jobs.

This would be achieved by diversifying the industry through the development of both Open Ocean and Land Based aquaculture opportunities, predominantly located around Motupōhue Bluff and Rakiura Stewart Island.  The goal is to maximise the social and economic benefits of aquaculture, while ensuring sustainable management of resources. 

There are seven enablers that will support the realisation of the potential of this industry. Each of these requires further investigation and resourcing and should be considered alongside each other, to understand timing implications and investment prioritisation:

  1. Leadership
  2. Supply Chain
  3. Strategic Direction
  4. Regulatory
  5. Infrastructure
  6. Workforce
  7. Research and Development

Next Steps



"Educational opportunities for students (who could be our future workforce) to learn about seaweed, finfish and shellfish farming at Ocean Beach, including the proposed OOA Skills Pilot."

  • The NZ Certificate in Aquaculture (Fish Farming) - Level 3 with strand in Hatchery is being delivered from Feb 2024 by SIT-Te Pukenga in association with Ocean Beach (see more).

In Progress

"That new and existing aquaculture initiatives are encouraged to sustainably grow and diversify."

  • The Government has announced a new fast track consenting process which may assist projects such as Ngāi Tahu’s proposed Hananui open ocean aquaculture farm at Rakiura Stewart Island.
  • Ocean Beach is a growing Aquaculture Centre of Excellence, located at Motupōhue Bluff and has a blend of industrial, aquaculture and seafood tenants on site.

In Progress

"The Murihiku Southland Aquaculture Strategy is refreshed in 2023/24."

In Progress

"Business cases are developed investigating infrastructure and utilities required to support aquaculture."

  • A number of organisations and busineses including South Port are investigating the provision of infrastructure to meet the needs of a future aquaculture industry.
  • Southland District Council are investigating the provision of wharves and other infrastructure on Rakiura Stewart Island.

Not Yet Started

"The Enduring Aquaculture Group is established including an Executive Manager position."

Not Yet Started

"The Murihiku Southland Aquaculture Cluster is established including an Aquaculture Cluster Manager position."


In Progress

"For national, regional and district planning to include open ocean farming and create a stable regulatory framework to encourage investment confidence, innovation and sustainable growth to unlock the scalable aquaculture opportunity of this industry."

In Progress

"For ongoing investment in research and development."

  • AUT currently have 5 Masters / PHD students doing various papers on Pāua and Whitebait. Specific research on reseeding both species back into the wild, optimising breeding, feed development and algal incubation are all underway.
  • Impact Marine are doing extensive research on optimising land-based feeds and breeding for Chinook (King) Salmon with their international partners.
  • Impact Marine are investigating the utilisation of their waste as a fertiliser for farmers.
  • Kelp Blue are doing extensive research on extracting proteins from Macrocystis (Bladder Kelp) as well as optimising their hatchery and grow out for New Zealand conditions.
  • CH4 Global have an intensive research project underway to optimising the growing conditions for Asparagopsis Armata in land-based bioreactors as well as developing their broodstock to lift the active ingredient found in the species and make it more temperature tolerant.
  • Both NIWA and Cawthron are utilising Pāua from Ocean Beach to do research on the impact of rising water temperatures on the species and the possible impact on New Zealand wild stock levels.