New Species

A major reason why OOA is such an attractive opportunity for Aotearoa New Zealand’s aquaculture industry is because it can support the diversification of our farmed species, enabling multi-species shellfish and new seaweed OOA industries to emerge.


New Zealand’s shellfish aquaculture industry is extremely well-regarded world-wide and represents a significant share of our overall seafood industry exports.

However, shellfish OOA in Aotearoa New Zealand is currently limited to one company (Whakatōhea Mussels) and one species (Greenshell™Mussel). If we are to grow this sector, we need to diversify the species of shellfish we farm and generate new opportunities for marine farmers and investors. We are therefore testing oysters at our exposed sites and will be testing scallops in 2024.

Flat oysters in Tory Channel


There is a global buzz about the potential of seaweed as a new, high-growth, high-value primary production industry. 

Seaweed can be used in a wide-range of products and solutions including ‘green’ protein-based foods, pharmaceuticals, biomaterials, fertilisers and industrial products.

Seaweed is poised to be a significant aquaculture industry for New Zealand, and this programme will help initiate this new industry and develop open ocean seaweed aquaculture.

Project leaders at Cawthron Institute will work with research partners in New Zealand and overseas to learn more about two types of seaweed with open ocean farming potential in Aotearoa New Zealand. We will focus on developing structures and scalable farming methods which will maximise the production of selected components of the seaweeds. We intend to experiment with two types of seaweed, a kelp species (Lessonia variegata) and a smaller species (e.g. Asparagopsis) species.

asparagopsis seaweed