Funding will help re-open Waikare Inlet oyster farm

Published: Nov 5, 2020 · Updated: Dec 1, 2020

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  • Northland/Te Tai Tokerau

The Provincial Growth Find (PGF) is investing $400,000 to clean up 7.8 hectares of the Waikare Inlet in Northland to re-open an oyster farm site there.

Seafort Holdings will receive a $167,506 grant to clean up the old decayed oyster beds and a PGF loan of $232,494 will rebuild the oyster farm.

Eight full-time jobs and one part-time job will be created through this project.

In early 2001 all the oyster farms in the Waikare Inlet were closed in response to high levels of Norwalk-like virus contamination.

The oyster farms in the area were all cleaned up except for the Waikare Oyster Farm where the unharvested oyster frames have since collapsed, depositing an estimated 6,400 tonnes of waste oyster shell and three tonnes of waste timber. The PGF grant is needed to undertake the clean-up prior to the rebuild, which will be paid by the loan.

Seafort Holdings currently has a 24-year lease for the Waikare Oyster Farm.

The work to be undertaken through PGF funding includes pulverising approximately 13,000 cubic metres of oyster shell debris and removing rotting oyster rows, followed by the construction of 100 x 100 metres of new oyster beds.

The installation of 100 new oyster beds will improve the productivity of the business and result in the production of 140,000 dozen additional oysters per annum, valued at approximately $1.4 million.

The shovel ready project will employ four full-time workers and one short-term role to carry out remedial works, with a further four workers employed once the new oyster lines come on-stream.

The roles will be filled by workers needing to be redeployed into other employment due to the economic impact of COVID-19.