Moana New Zealand – Blue Abalone at Bream Bay in Northland is the first aquaculture business in New Zealand to achieve Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, and only the fourth abalone producer to have done so globally.
ASC certification is recognised worldwide as the ‘gold standard’ for responsible aquaculture production in every respect including best farming practise and environmental responsibility. Aquaculture in New Zealand covers the farming of salmon, oysters, mussels and abalone (pāua).
Moana New Zealand Chief Executive Carl Carrington says the two years of hard work that has gone into certification by the team at Bream Bay has been well worth it.
“It’s an incredibly rigorous process with auditors taking into account everything from what the abalone are fed to how it is handled, what impact the farm has on the environment, and even how we treat our staff,” he says.
Moana New Zealand – Blue Abalone is the country’s only commercial abalone farm. It’s a land-based operation with an innovative sea water recirculation system with filtration, both incoming and outgoing.
The species farmed is Haliotis iris, the native New Zealand species. When farmed in a filtered water environment it has a unique blue shell with clean white meat. Up to 120 tonnes, or 2 million individual shellfish, can be produced a year and delivered live or cryogenically frozen to domestic and international markets.
Respected third-party certifier SCS Global Services conducted the ASC assessment.
Now that Moana New Zealand – Blue Abalone has certification, this will help give consumers confidence that the abalone they are buying was raised at a responsible farm, says Sabine Daume, SCS Global Service’s regional fisheries certification representative.
“We congratulate the facility on this important achievement.”
Moana New Zealand’s Blue Abalone is 100 per cent sustainable, spawning abalone from its own small pool of wild abalone broodstock.
A precise breeding programme traces the Blue Abalone through the full life cycle from spawning to spat, then to market size as a cocktail size abalone (of approximately 75m length) after about three and a half years.
“Our business is built on a respect for natural resources and people. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do both out in the environment and in our own operations,” says Mr Carrington.
“As the country’s largest Iwi-owned (Māori) seafood company our values of whakatipuranga and kaitiakitanga – of being true to nature and to future generations – are the essence of our efforts in this area.”
The ASC certification process, particularly the focus on reducing the farm’s environmental footprint, has also provided other benefits, including savings to the business.
As part of showing we care for the environment, Moana New Zealand – Blue Abalone staff also began working with Northland Regional Council and the Department of Conservation to adopt and restore the dunes for the long term in front of its operation in Bream Bay. These are home to important bird species including Fairy Terns.