GreenWaveNZ has undertaken New Zealand’s first large scale outplanting of hatchery grown
native Ecklonia radiata seaweed, with 228 metres of tiny seedlings planted in the waters off
the Coromandel coastline as part of a regenerative ocean farming pilot.
The $5 million pilot, led by natural resource sector project developer EnviroStrat, in
collaboration with Ngāti Pūkenga, Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, seaweed product developer Premium
Seas, the Universities of Waikato and Auckland and seaweed processor AgriSea, is focused
on creating an economically viable seed-to-harvest model for seaweed farming in New
EnviroStrat CEO, Dr Nigel Bradly says the outplanting of hatchery grown seaweed is a
significant milestone for the emerging seaweed sector.
“This is the first step in establishing seaweed farming at scale in New Zealand and will
provide essential information to underpin the commercial realities of seaweed productivity
in this country.”
The pilot is developing methods for hatcheries, seeding, outplanting, growing and
harvesting seaweed, as well as establishing a sustainable, functioning supply chain, opening
up new opportunities to tap into the US$14 billion global seaweed market.
“We know that domestically there is an eagerness to adopt practical ways to diversify the
mussel and oyster farming industries and there is significant interest in seaweed farming.
Regenerative ocean farming is emerging as an opportunity to leverage existing skill sets and
aquaculture experience for positive social and environmental impact while enabling
EnviroStrat has been collaborating with GreenWave since 2019 to adapt its successful
regenerative ocean farming model for New Zealand.
GreenWave Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director, Bren Smith, says GreenWave is
honoured to support and learn from GreenWaveNZ’s innovative work.
“It’s exciting to see their years of thoughtful planning and partnership development now
shift into action. In addition to advancing the economic and environmental goals of coastal
communities in New Zealand, bringing these lessons back to the broader ocean farming
industry will be a catalyst for communities around the globe searching for solutions to make
a living on a living planet.”
Nigel Bradly says while there is a lot of knowledge to draw from internationally, there is no
experience or understanding of how to farm seaweed for New Zealand’s local species.
“The contribution of the wider team’s skills and expertise enables us to blend operational,
science and commercial experience, to ensure that commercial seaweed farming will be a
part of New Zealand’s blue economy future.”
Working with iwi is at the heart of the pilot. Ngāti Pūkenga and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki are
providing consented water space in the Hauraki Gulf.
Lucas Evans, CEO of Premium Seas, is facilitating access to water space, managing the
Coromandel hatchery and providing oversight for the farming operations while gaining
efficiencies along the way.
University of Waikato researchers Dr Marie Magnusson and Dr Rebecca Lawton are
overseeing the research and trial design.
Professor Andrew Jeffs at University of Auckland is leading monitoring to establish the
biodiversity impacts of co-locating mussels and seaweed farming.
ArgiSea is contributing its post-harvest processing, production, and market expertise, and
will purchase the biomass produced by the pilot.