Potentially unlimited opportunities for mussel industry
8 March 2007
At an awards ceremony this evening celebrating two of Marlborough's brightest industries, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton spoke of the strength to be gained by linking the two. "Wine in the region has often led the way. Positioning our iconic greenshell mussels alongside our wine will increase the value of the greenshell brand."
Jim Anderton was speaking at Icon Culinaire, the New Zealand Mussel Industry Council awards dinner, matching the shellfish with Marlborough sauvignon blanc.
The mussel industry is now over seven times as large as it was twenty years ago. "Greenshell mussels have become an icon of New Zealand food, with exports of $166 million a year. It is the only native New Zealand species exported in large numbers," Jim Anderton said.
"But for all the success we have enjoyed from the growth of seafood exports in the last twenty years, we have a miniscule 0.02 percent of the world market - one five-thousandth of global seafood sales."
The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that seafood consumption around the world will increase by a third over the next decade. "Demand will only be met by the expansion of aquaculture. The strategy for our seafood industry, set out last year, was to transform seafood exports into a billion dollar a year industry by 2025," said Jim Anderton.
"However, we have to develop new, high value opportunities and new markets. That's why this evening is an important event. It shows what a powerful image can be created from producing delicious food and wine and promoting them together as a total gourmet experience.
"I want to congratulate the wine industry here in Marlborough on reaching out beyond its own sector to embrace a partnership with the aquaculture sector, realising the gains to be achieved from such co-operation," Jim Anderton said.