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 NEWSLETTER   March 2004

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2004. 

In this issue

  • PhD thesis by Tim Haggitt
  • Report regarding seaweed research
  • Certificate of Sustainability
  • Conference report
  • Membership drive
  • Member company profile
  • Website developments
  • Rare Seaweeds discovered

CONGRATULATIONS TIM

Tim Haggitt has recently completed his PhD thesis entitled, The Demography and Biochemistry of Ecklonia Radiata, and handed it in!!!

SEAWEED RESEARCHERS

Submitted by Roger Newman.

According to the Fisheries Act, seaweed researchers are expected to apply to MAF for a special permit before collecting samples.  The only  exceptions are beach-cast red seaweeds.  To obtain a permit, the applicant must state the objective of the research and provide details of the intended “catch”.  Once a permit has been obtained, at a cost of several hundred dollars, the researcher must report the amount of each species collected each month. 

There is no lower limit, so a permit is required even if the “catch” is just one beach-cast green or brown plant, or even a single frond from an attached plant of any colour.

There seems to be a grey area concerning amateur researchers such as myself.  Some “catches” fall into the category of “recreational fishing”, but a special permit seems to be required if the researcher hopes to find results of financial value.  I can’t afford to apply for a permit each time I have a bright idea. 

I have sometimes used the special permit of a research organization, reporting “catches” to MAF through their spreadsheets, but the research that I do on those samples must contribute to the objective stated on the permit that I used.

It seems to me that this legislation will hinder the development of a New Zealand seaweed industry.  We should be encouraging individuals and emerging businesses to study our resources.  I’d like to see a small but clearly specified limit on a “catch”, below which no permit is required.  I’d appreciate feedback at NewmanRC@xtra.co.nz Meanwhile, I shall try to ensure that I discover nothing of financial value!!

CERTIFICATE OF SUSTAINABILITY

SANZ will develop industry standards for an evaluation system that ensures the sustainable management of the seaweed industry.  We welcome all SANZ members input in the development of this fledging industry in New Zealand.

Thanks to John Miller of Bio-Pacific Seapharm, biopacific@xtra.co.nz  who developed the SANZ logo above and sustainability mark on the next page.

JOINT CONFERENCE - University of Auckland & AUT – September 1-3, 2003

NZ MARINE SCIENCE SOCIETY and AUSTRALASIAN SOCIETY FOR PHYTOLOGY AND AQUATIC BOTANY (ASPAB)

Sponsors: University of Auckland, AUT, Ministry of Fisheries, Kingett Mitchell Ltd., Leigh Marine Laboratory

Summary Report by: Louise M. Fawcett, PACIFIC HAVEST                           12th March, 2004

In September I attended the above conference with 300+ other people, mainly from the academic community. The conference was organised by Dr. Lindsey Zemke-White of AUT, as a gathering of the NZ Marine Sciences community, enriched this year by the presence of the ASPAB (see title). As far as I could see, it had very little participation from the government and industry, and I probably was the only attendee from industry that didn’t have a scientific background.

The Conference was made up of three days of presentations and various opportunities to mingle with other attendees at night where one could meet some of the best known names in the industry. The formal program was organised in three (3) concurrent streams, covering a variety of categories in Marine Sciences such as Ecology, Physiology, Taxonomy, Conservation & Management, Aquatic Botany, Aquaculture and Oceanography. Seaweed was well covered during the conference but was by no means the main focus of it.

Each presentation was roughly an hour in length and covered very specific subjects related to recent (mostly academically related) research findings.

The material was technical and not of a nature that could easily be summarised and properly re-presented.

The fact that I am neither an academic nor enriched by a strong scientific background meant that much of what was covered was of little relevance to the commercial side of my interests or those of Pacific Harvest. It did give me though an appreciation for our situation in NZ and a perspective on some of the things we are dealing with when it comes to managing fisheries.

The following are some thoughts I took away from the conference:

1.       New Zealand has a great community of very competent and enthusiastic scientific minds focussed on seaweed.

2.       Most of our scientists work in the academic world because commissions from industry are rare, and the NZ government is not yet focused and spending much money on seaweed itself. Today, seaweed is managed as a resource that supports the fish and very little funding is devoted to the standalone opportunities presented by our Seaweed Industry.

3.       The scientific community is frustrated that current Fisheries policies are being developed by political influences without much input at all from the scientists on the implications of the decisions being made.

4.       Research in Antarctica is showing that Southern Hemisphere aquatic botany differs significantly from that of the Northern Hemisphere. Some are of the opinion that a new taxonomy has to be developed for the Southern Hemisphere and that there could be economic advantages to our uniqueness. This means that much more work and research investments could be needed if we are to make decisions from a solid knowledge foundation.

In summary, this was a good investment of my time and I feel better equipped to understand and contribute to the balanced development of a Seaweed Industry in New Zealand.

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

This newsletter is being circulated to all seaweed permit holders and institutions with a marine interest.  The individual annual fee is only $50.00 and the corporate fee only $100.00.  Application form attached.

Put your view forward on the development of seaweed in New Zealand by becoming a member of SANZ Inc.

Pacific Harvest produce Karengo, Kelp and other fine New Zealand Sea Vegetables and Natural Sea Salts.

 Karengo (similar to the Japanese Nori) comes in fronds, shaker-flakes and seasoning granules.

 Kelp is supplied in granules or powder and also forms the base for an exciting set of Healthy Gourmet Kelp Seasonings including Smoked Kelp, Lemon Kelp, Chilli Kelp and Lime Kelp.

 The natural Sea Salt is also available in several forms including Manuka Smoked Salt and Jazz Salt (a tasty mixture of Salt and Karengo flakes).

All our products are natural and can be obtained from leading Health Food stores and Delicatessens or directly from Pacific Harvest. Our products are also used by many of the best NZ restaurants to prepare signature dishes featuring indigenous New Zealand food.

    WEBSITE

We are still developing the website – contributions are invited

  • upcoming events
  • reports on events
  • educational features
  • research projects
  • quota discussion and ramifications

Please send all submissions to seaweed@wave.co.nz.  The SANZ executive reserves the right to publish.

“Rare seaweeds discovered in Northland

Two rare New Zealand seaweeds have been discovered in Northland, and they could have exciting commercial applications for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

NIWA scientist and seaweed expert Wendy Nelson said one of the red seaweed species, Gelidium longipes, had not been collected for 50 years, and another, Gelidium allanii, had been recorded only from a single site since it was first discovered in 1942.

‘Both species are very distinctive and can be easily distinguished from other New Zealand species. However, they’re small, so it would be easy for the untrained eye to overlook them,’ said Dr Nelson in the latest issue of Aquatic Biodiversity & Biosecurity, released today.

‘Although the naturally occurring populations of the species we’ve found so far couldn’t sustain harvesting, they may contain commercially useful variants of agar that could be the basis for the cultivation of unique new products.

‘Many of these species are found only in very small numbers and have highly restricted distributions. This makes the populations extremely vulnerable to coastal modifications or developments. We use molecular sequence analysis to allow us to work with very small samples and ensure that we don’t over-collect or damage small populations’.

‘We need to live sustainably with our coasts and marine resources. However, there’s still so much we don’t know about the distribution and properties of species around our coastline, and we can only protect what we know is there.’

SANZ Executive Members

Chair -Jillian Bradley, jill@oceanorganics.co.nz

Vice Chair -Ian Miller, ian.miller@xtra.co.nz

Secretary - Ruth Ordish, seaweed@wave.co.nz

Louise Fawcett,  louisefawcett@hotmail.com

Roger Newman, NewmanRC@xtra.co.nz

Tim Haggitt, t.haggitt@auckland.ac.nz

John Miller, biopacific@xtra.co.nz