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The New Generation Aquaculture Workforce

Monday 20 July 2015

The 20-year-old from Golden Bay now works as a Hatchery Technician for Shellfish Production and Technology Ltd New Zealand (Spat NZ), which recently built a pilot scale mussel hatchery at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park at The Glen, near Nelson.

Spat NZ is developing methods to consistently produce mussel spat at large scale and aims to breed good performing mussels that can be grown and harvested year round. Ellie loves her new job and says her friends and family are impressed that she walked out of a diploma and straight into an amazing full time job that she can grow in. She got the job after completing a Diploma in Aquaculture (Fish Farming & Fishery Management) through Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).

With around 70 per cent of the New Zealand aquaculture industry based in the Top of the South, aquaculture has become a specialty area for NMIT which has campuses in Nelson and Blenheim. In the past 40 years, aquaculture in New Zealand has grown from small beginnings to become a significant primary industry generating over $400 million in revenue, employing over 3,000 Kiwis and with ambitious targets for growth. To help meet these targets, NMIT has developed a full suite of aquaculture training to support the industry -from secondary school pathways through to postgraduate level.

It has been offering a two-year diploma since 2011 and in 2015, added new degree and postgraduate qualifications to the mix. Nelson's Cawthron Institute has been a key partner in the development of the new programmes. NMIT Aquaculture Programme Coordinator Dr Mark Burdass says the new qualifications are part of supporting the aquaculture industry to reach the next level. "The Bachelor of Aquaculture and Marine Conservation is the first vocationally focussed aquaculture degree of its kind in the country. The reality is that career opportunities in aquaculture are global as well as local," he says.

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