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The Opotiki Harbour Development Project will enable growth of a large scale aquaculture industry in the offshore waters of the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
The potential for aquaculture development is being demonstrated by a venture begun by Eastern Sea Farms Limited, a company majority owned by the Whakatohea Maori Trust Board. Eastern Sea Farms holds consent for a 3,800 hectare marine farm located 8.5 kilometres offshore from Opotiki township. Commercial mussel farming by Whakatohea Mussels (Opotiki) Limited and four other companies began in October 2014. There are lines in the water for spat catching and ongrowing to harvestable mussels. The consent also allows other species to be farmed. To get maximum benefit from this venture, it's essential that onshore servicing and seafood processing facilities are based in Opotiki. The Opotiki Harbour Development Project will enable this to happen.
A 2017 Cawthron Institute report identified an additional 15,902 hectares of suitable and productive water space within 50 kilometres of Opotiki. The original business case for the harbour assumed a productive area of only 3,800 hectares, so the available water area is over five times larger than originally anticipated.