The Blue Economy – An Ocean of Opportunity for Thames Coromandel

As Waikato Regional Council representative on the Hauraki Gulf Forum, I had the privilege of being briefed on the exciting new opportunities for seaweed aquaculture on the Coromandel Peninsula.  This “blue economy” has the potential to improve water quality, revitalise our waterways, improve our on-land farming systems. and create hundreds of local jobs.

Waikato Regional Council supports innovation like this through the $750,000 funding it has provided to the Waikato region’s regional development agency Te Waka

Seaweed is being used for fertiliser, to extract nitrogen and other contaminants from our waterways, in cosmetics, wound care and even to create plastics. And it is a source of protein and can store lots of carbon to combat climate change.

The ‘blue economy’ is not just about money. It refers to activities that are both based in, and which are actively good for the ocean. It includes non-market benefits: carbon storage, coastal protection, cultural values and biodiversity.

New Zealand is perfectly positioned to pioneer this wave. The nation is blessed with a vast ocean estate (at over 4,083,000 square kilometres it’s the world’s seventh-largest maritime area) 

At the moment, the seaweed is hand collected after wash-ups across the country – with 30% left behind for native species – but Government  funding will allow local award-winning company Agrisea to expand its production by growing on land and in the sea,  

Creating the world’s first commercial seaweed-based nanocellulose manufacturing plant is a $1.5m project, and the Government is loaning $750,000 towards it – with potential for further investments.

Learn more about the New Zealand seaweed industry

Denis Tegg — Thames Coromandel representative on Waikato Regional Council

2 thoughts on “The Blue Economy – An Ocean of Opportunity for Thames Coromandel

  1. This plan inspires hope ! There are so many potential uses of seaweed . Seaweed grown as a food supplement for cows so reducing their methane production, used as an edible human food, and used as an ingredient in the manufacture of various products. However obviously the seaweed growing industry needs some regulation so that any potential infection does not spread to oceanic seaweed ecosystems which are the cornerstone for marine life. I am very interested in how growing seaweed can be done in economical businesses, safely for oceanic ecosystems and in ways that could mitigate climate change. Would love to learn more!!


  2. Only if they grow everything they harvest. Rest of the ocean needs what seaweed we already have. Can we regulate for this? ‘Sustainable’ harvest often isn’t and flying blind without reliable scientific baseline data.


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