Shareholders of Whakatohea Mussels (Opotiki) Ltd met on Thursday 12 May at a special meeting convened by the directors to consider two proposals. They voted unanimously in favour to purchase a purpose built marine farming vessel, the Northern Quest and at the same meeting the resolution was also unanimously approved to issue further shares in Whakatohea Mussels (Opotiki) Ltd.
This capital raise will expedite the purchase of the boat as well as accelerate the development of the farm.
“The response from the Opotiki community has again been positively overwhelming to this capital raise to speed up the development of the farm” said Mr Selby Fisher, director of Whakatohea Mussels. “This has the effect of tripling the capital of the company in less than two years and will lead to an accelerated growth of the mussel farm off the coast of Opotiki.”
Ian Craig, Chairman of Whakatohea Mussels said it was always in the plan for the company to own it’s our own vessel. Due to favourable circumstances the opportunity to acquire a purpose built marine farm vessel was too good an opportunity to pass up Mr Craig said. The vessel, Northern Quest, is purpose built for the aquaculture industry, it carries all the specialised equipment required for the maintenance and operation of the marine farming operation in Opotiki. The Northern Quest was built by Challenge Marine in Nelson and was launched in 2009. It is 29.9 metres (100 feet) long and 8.22 metres (30 feet) wide. It is seven years old and has been well maintained throughout. The vessel also has its own mooring in the Coromandel where it will continue to do contract work when it is not required in the Eastern Bay. Two moorings have been installed in the Whakatane harbour where the Northern Quest will be based until the Opotiki Harbour entrance is opened.
After the completion of harvesting this year’s mussel spat catch the Northern Quest will continue to work on the mussel farm installing new spat catching long lines through July and August to increase the size of the farm to one hundred and twenty five long lines in the water. There has been a good spat settlement on the longlines in the spring of 2015 and harvesting started in early April and will continue until late May. The inaugural harvest of mussels for export will be in June, and will be sold under our own brand – “Open Ocean”. The Northern Quest will then return to the Coromandel to do some contract work in the Hauraki Gulf.
“The ultimate objective in the future is to have our own mussel processing factory here in Opotiki” said Mr Craig. “The decisions made today enables the company to accelerate development on the mussel farm to 300 longlines over the next few years to support the building of the factory.”
The directors would like to thank the shareholders and new investors for their support in growing the company so quickly and we look forward to the opening of the Opotiki harbour for commercial use in the near future.