EnviroStrat led an 18-month programme on behalf of Ngā Iwi i te Rohe o Te Waiariki in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries, and with the support of Te Ohu Kaimoana, to explore opportunities to enable the development of Māori aquaculture in Te Moana-a-Toi / the Bay of Plenty.
This programme supports future iwi decision-making regarding the settlement of the Crown obligations for commercial aquaculture rights and historic treaty settlement assets delivered through marine space (under Treaty of Waitangi claims process) in their rohe.
Through a three-stage options identification and refinement process, EnviroStrat screened potential aquaculture species and created a shortlist of the most promising opportunities, these include:
- Land-based yellowtail kingfish
- Offshore yellowtail kingfish
- Greenshell mussels
- Ecklonia kelp
Trout farming was also identified as a key growth opportunity for aquaculture in the Bay of Plenty. Although there is interest from the commercial sector and iwi in advancing this opportunity, progress cannot be made under current legislation. As such, further consideration of trout aquaculture was excluded.
EnviroStrat adopted a holistic approach to options refinement that included a high-level analysis of the various technical, market, economic and environmental merits of each opportunity. Te Ao Māori perspectives were woven throughout, with the guidance given by iwi leads and other experts.
Four separate, interlinked Business Cases were developed; each involved strategic assessment, consideration of social, environmental, cultural, and economic factors, detailed financial modelling, market assessment, legal and intellectual property analysis and high-level engineering design.
This work is aligned with the Government’s Aquaculture Strategy (2019), which recognises the strong interests of Māori, and aims to ensure aquaculture develops in a way that is sustainable, productive, resilient and inclusive. This has the potential to provide an exemplar in terms of the role of Bay of Plenty Iwi and Crown as Treaty partners, empowering a long-term, transformational approach to the development of a thriving Māori aquaculture industry. It also provides valuable insights for Iwi elsewhere that are interested in aquaculture development.