While the thought of working with fish all day might make some feel a little queasy, Erin and I felt right at home as soon as we were welcomed by the team at NIWA Northland Marine Research Centre. Located in the coastal township of Ruakaka, a 30-minute drive from sunny Whangarei, the Research Centre extracts water straight from the beach to supply its tanks to allow research to be conducted.
The two fish species that are currently being researched for the purpose of future aquaculture here in New Zealand is the hāpuku and kingfish. While growing fish might sound easy, there are many different considerations that must be carefully researched to ensure that the most efficient, environmentally friendly and economically viable protein product is hitting the plates of hungry families. Hands on research on fish feeding efficiency, growth rates, reproduction and quality of the end product (to name a few…) in an aquaculture setting keep a team of 25 busy here at Bream Bay, and after a few days we can see how!
Although Erin and I have only been here for a few days, we already feel part of the team and are really enjoying the projects we have been helping out with. Erin has been spending most of her time assisting in the lab measuring the fat, protein and carbohydrates in the final state of the fish after it is harvested, and also assisting with a pain perception study. Whereas I’ve been given the responsibility of caring for the mussel spat (baby mussels) that are currently in a small scale trial and also assisting with the husbandry of kingfish and hāpuku.
For more of our fishy tales, keep an eye out for the next few posts, we’ll be uploading a couple of times a week and these will have a bit more detail of what we do in an average day of being part of the NIWA crew!
BLAKE NIWA Ambassador 2018