MARINE AWARD 2021
Rose Prendeville (Port Marlborough, centre) with Emilee Benjamin and Ned Wells (Marine Farming Association)
MARINE FARMING ASSOCIATION
Winner: Marine Award
Sponsored by Port Marlborough
Marine farmers have joined forces with universities and other agencies in their research project to restore the wild mussel beds of Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound.
The seafloor here was once rich with mussel beds, providing kai moana, a nursery for fish, as well as filtering sediment and stabilising the seabed.
Dredging and overfishing wiped out the beds 40 years ago and the Marine Farming Association is now working to get them back.
Collaborating with scientists from Auckland University and NIWA they are trialing different methods, placing tonnes of live mussels in plots on the seafloor to grow and spread.
At other sites, waste mussel shells are used to create reefs for live mussels to latch on to, providing a growing platform while reducing the waste stream.
This project is an inspiring example of marine restoration, mussel farmer engagement and community education. It also shows how industry groups can give back to the environment they operate in.