New Zealand aquaculture industry receives €120,000 funding to address labour shortages

editorial staff

New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has handed the country’s aquaculture sector NZD $210,000 (€120,000) to boost its workforce, as it faces hundreds of vacancies across the industry.

The country’s government previously set a goal of growing the aquaculture sector’s annual sales from NZD $600 million (€345,000) to NZD $3 billion (€1.7 billion) by 2035.

“Aquaculture employs over 3000 Kiwis in regional communities around New Zealand, we predict we will need double that number of workers by 2035. Right now, we have a significant shortfall of at least 500 vacancies across the industry,” Aquaculture New Zealand’s chief executive Gary Hooper admitted.

“We want to showcase the opportunities that exist for careers in the farming of mussels, oysters and salmon,” Hooper added, as he cited how the funding and strategic plan will help to address education and skills gaps, prepare the industry for the future and show it is an exciting time for the region’s aquaculture industry.

“The Government’s Aquaculture Strategy has a goal of $3 billion in annual sales by 2035 following a sustainable growth pathway and using innovation to add value,” Justin Carter, the co-chair of the Nelson Tasman Regional Skills Leadership Group, said. “To realise this, aquaculture businesses need a skilled local workforce. RSLGs partnering on this mahi makes sense for the good of communities and the country.”

Aquaculture New Zealand’s policy manager Steph Hopkins admitted that the impact of Covid on the workforce has been particularly noticeable in processing factories. “To get to a $3 billion (€1.7 billion) business, what will our workforce growth look like?” Hopkins floated how automation is being explored, as well as research into recruitment techniques and opportunities to help ensure the industry continues to expand.




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