New Zealand Asia Institute

Innovation and market positioning in the seafood industry

This project seeks to generate fresh insights into how socio-economic value can be created and captured by the New Zealand seafood industry.

The sustainability of fisheries is of huge significance economically and socially to many countries. New Zealand is no exception.

The objective of this project is to develop an evidence-based knowledge core to generate fresh insights, and to enhance understanding of how more sustainable socio-economic value can be created – and captured – by the New Zealand seafood industry, both for wild capture and aquaculture.

This increasingly involves engagement with Asian markets, enabled by innovation throughout the global value chain. It also entails, in broad terms:

  • Shifting from exporting of bulk, unprocessed or semi-processed commodities to a high end market-driven trajectory.
  • Promotion of ongoing innovation in process, products, branding and markets.

The 2008-2010 Ministry of Fisheries project, Developing a profile of post-harvest offshore processing: Implications for the New Zealand seafood industry (Stringer, 2010), provides the foundation for this research. That project identified a number of areas for further research, including an in-depth understanding of seafood business models, value chains, and markets.

The increased globalisation of the fisheries value chain has led to some segments of the chain being systematically squeezed – typically production or processing – with profits concentrated in segments further along the value chain such as those nodes close to the consumers. Research into understanding high-end customers and consumers in Asian markets and satisfying their consumer needs on an ongoing basis is central to this project.

Ongoing research includes:

  • Re-thinking the New Zealand fisheries value chain.
  • Employment, labour and working conditions in the industry.
  • Transforming fisheries waste into high-value advanced derivatives.
  • Enhancing value from net to plate.
  • Creating new industries from marine by-products.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Mira Szászy Research Centre.