SANZ Members
Indigenous People




 August 2006

 In this newsletter

  •      2006 Work of SANZ

  •         New Zealand to join Billion-dollar Seaweed Industry

  •         Sea-squirt Invader

  •         Ecklonia radiata study at Waihau Bay



            2006 Work of SANZ

SANZ  became an Incorporated Society in 1998 with two major guiding principles: (1) To promote a sustainable and viable seaweed industry for NZ (2)  To promote and ensure the ecological sustainability of seaweeds in NZ. These two principles are not mutually exclusive and indeed, dovetail with the Ministry of Fisheries Statement of Intent 2005/08

 “This strategy sets out a new approach to managing the environmental effects of fishing. Currently management reacts to concerns about the effects of fishing on particular species and habitats after the effects have become a concern”

 Phase One

Over the last eight years SANZ has consulted with a range of stakeholders including seaweed gatherers; Marine scientists; seaweed industry participants ( including those working on seaweed end product development); environmental groups , Maori and those other established fishery groups that may be affected by seaweed going into the QMS. If wild harvest of seaweeds is not managed safely other fisheries whose stock rely on seaweeds for either food or habitat (or both) are likely to be negatively affected.

The Ministry of Fisheries have applied the precautionary principle for the last 15 years as the harvesting of seaweeds could have wider ecological ramifications.The single biggest issue facing the development of a seaweed industry in NZ is continuity of supply.  Accurate stock assessments can be made on the seaweed fishery unlike other fisheries. The QMS may be unnecessary for seaweed due to its sessile state. A locally based management strategy will suit the seaweed fishery better whereby research and stewardship/kaitiakitanga can develop simultaneously. 

Organisations such as SANZ, need to do the ground work and put forward a viable alternative – we have done this work and it is now time to ‘go public’ with it.

SANZ has been trialing an alternative management system for two years. This is tentatively called the Local License Management System (LLMS) and includes: defined harvest areas, specific harvest management plans, knowledge of the target species including sporing times and ongoing ecological monitoring.

Phase Two

 SANZ  will be approaching various Ministers and their CEOs  in the next 2  weeks, to lobby for this alternative management system for seaweeds. It is now time for SANZ to become much more political and vocal in order to become part of the solution for building a seaweed industry for NZ. There is a drive on to gather support from other established fisheries and wider groups including IRL and NIWA. Members can read the SANZ proposal on the website www.sanz.org.nz as soon as it is in the Ministers hands

 The seaweed industry worldwide is worth some 6-6.5 billion dollars. This is an emerging ‘new’ industry for New Zealand capable of earning significant export dollars. We have a long coastline, some 800 different seaweed species, the expertise both in marine science and the science of seaweed product development, and still, we are a net importer of seaweeds.

Political goodwill and co-operation between industry, government and science can build a powerful industry that is socially, ecologically and economically of value to New Zealand.

Phase Three

After a safe management system for seaweeds is in place SANZ needs to form a cluster with  NZTE (New Zealand Trade & Enterprise) support and lobby for a forum to tackle the wider industry development issues. Some of these may be, research money and where to place it; seaweed product development ; mariculture, aquaculture and polyculture development; international marketing research.

The seaweed industry is not for the ‘fainthearted’ at this stage!!

 Some of Our Amazing SANZ Members – working under moratorium conditions include:

  • Carina Chemical Laboratories, Dr. Ian Miller – has developed a gel from agar  that is 10 times stronger than any other similar product world wide. He has also successfully researched & developed products for pharmaceutical/cosmetics market.( Ian has a ‘mind like a steel trap’ and has contributed to SANZ discussions and documents for many years.


  • Pacific Harvest continue to develop their delicious healthy edible seaweed  (sea vegetable) range with creative and tasty new products e.g. Lemon and Kelp Biscotti and Karengo & Tamarillo Chutney (highly recommended!)


  • AgriSea New Zealand Ltd manufacture liquid seaweed concentrates for soil and plant health that are x10 the strength of any seaweed product in the USA.


  • Ocean Organics Ltd have a Seaweed and NZ Herbs healing salve that is excellent for a range of skin irritations.


  • Ruth Falshaw at IRL is doing ground breaking research into aquaculture as is ,Dr. Philip Heath from NIWA at Mahanga Bay Research Facility; Otago Uni and many others.


  • Dr. Tim Haggitt, Coastal and Aquatic Systems Ltd, is doing ground breaking research on re-seeding seaweed into the wild and also researching a monitoring system for measuring the health of the marine environment in relation to wild harvest of seaweeds.

   Tim was a founding member of SANZ and has generously contributed his time and expertise to every major discussion paper or submission that SANZ has put forward. Special thanks Tim

Special thanks also to the amazing Ruth Ordish who has been SANZ secretary for a number of years. Ruth has created our website, kept our finances shipshape, researched and contributed to SANZ in many ways over the past years. I am hard pressed to find the words to express what a special person Ruth is. It is more than her intelligence, creativity, strength of character – it is her gentle energy and deep respect for all people. Voluntary organizations such as SANZ can only thrive through the generosity of people of the caliber of Ruth Ordish.

Big thanks to the executive members of SANZ for all their hard work on the draft discussion document for Ministers consideration 

I look forward to seeing you all at our AGM on 10th September in Hamilton!!

Jill Bradley (Chairperson, SANZ

NZ to join Billion-dollar Seaweed Industry

Scientists from Industrial Research in Lower Hutt have spent 20 years studying seaweed and 10 years of that working out the best way to grow it.

The IRL team led by Ruth Falshaw found out science is often more a case of trial and error than is sometimes expected. Early attempts to grow seaweed spores in small culture cabinets in a laboratory were unsuccessful because the seaweed preferred to be in open water. After trying to grow seaweed in Wellington, most of IRL's seaweed is now grown in the Marlborough Sounds.

Dr Falshaw said New Zealand was well placed to grow seaweed commercially. It had clean, open waters, and it already had the infrastructure within existing mussel and salmon farms. New Zealand also has about 700 varieties of seaweed, many that are rare elsewhere in the world.

IRL is trying to commercially grow just one variety at present, a red seaweed called Gigartina atropurpurea, which is found in the North Island and upper South Island.

It has a broad leaf, so yields a lot of seaweed from each plant and can be easily harvested by cutting. Seaweed farming would give aquaculture farmers a chance to diversify.

Though a lot of seaweed was grown to be eaten, Dr Falshaw said IRL was looking at it as a value-added product for items such as additives to food and pharmaceuticals. It is widely used as a thickening agent in ice-cream to stop large ice crystals forming. It makes chocolate milk creamier and holds the cocoa in suspension. It is also used in toothpaste and face creams. Worldwide the business is estimated to be worth US$1 billion (NZ$1.6 billion).

Dr Falshaw said a conservative estimate was that it would be worth between $2 million and $4 million a year to New Zealand in export earnings in the early stages, but that was still some years away, as New Zealand production was small.

She is currently working with aquaculture farmers, processors and end-users to try to build a commercial market for New Zealand seaweed.


  Growing seaweed on ropes.


Sue Allen - Dominion Post

Ruth Falshaw Copyright © 2006 Industrial Research Ltd.


Styela clava or  Sea Squirt  is a foreign invasive species that was first detected in New Zealand in August 2005.  Styela clava can be a variety of colours, from red to brown to white and has a tough and rubbery  texture, it is around 16cm in length with a strong stalk and  tubular body.

 Originally from Korea and surrounding waters, the sea squirt is thought to have spread to Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Last year the first International Invasive Sea Squirt Conference was held at WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ). It attracted scientists, natural resource managers and students from four continents who set out to discuss the growing global invasion.

 So why is Sea squirt a threat? 

It competes for food and space with other organisms, grows quickly and covers clam and mussel beds, seaweed, floating docks and pilings, becoming a nuisance but also economic and environmental threats.

 So far, no known predators have been found and eradication of the invader proves to be difficult with our best hope being containment.

Styela clava is widely spread throughout the Hauraki Gulf, in Lyttelton and in Tutukaka Marina. A survey of 29 locations was done late last year and early 2006 with inspections failing to find any sign of the Sea Squirt. Though last month a single adult specimen was found on a vessel in Nelson. Work is now underway to discover if there is a population of Styela clava present there.

The threat of  the Sea squirt spreading to other areas is very real. It is most likely travels on the hulls of boats, and all sea users are asked to be diligent in cleaning their hulls of fouling.

 Information about Styela clava is readily available, please contact biosecurity New Zealand if you spot Styela clava,