When most people are looking forward to a life of leisure, Trevor and Annette Davidson are looking to embark on a new business venture – a fish farm in Katikati.
Annette and Trevor Davidson: future fish farmers.
The couple believe aquaculture is the future for sustainable commercial fishing and after seeing an article on TV One’s Country Calendar, Trevor was inspired to get involved.
“Initially I was interested in paua production. At the end of that show on Country Calendar they said there were opportunities for fin-fish farming, so I visited the Bream Bay facility up north,” says Trevor.
NIWA has invested more than $2.5million in the aquaculture production and research facility south of Whangerei to help New Zealand meet the growing demand for seafood.
“From there we did a lot of research and got onto a Norwegian company called Akva.”
Akva group is a technology partner and supplier of advanced equipment and services to the aquaculture industry worldwide. Akva group is considered a pioneer and technology leader through more than 30 years of supporting fish farming.
The Davidsons are undeterred by the failure of Parengarenga Incorporation kingfish farm in the far north.
“The Northland farm failed due to equipment problems,” says Trevor.
“They are currently refitting infrastructure and plan to be operational again in the near future. For us, the whole thing revolves around consent. Although aquaculture is a permitted activity in the Katikati region, consent was required for the oversized building that houses the large holding tanks.”
To date the Davidsons have invested a great deal of their own money completing various reports such as an acoustic survey, and on council fees and associated court costs after submissions from owners of neighbouring properties contested the Western Bay of Plenty District Council land consent.
Once the first stage is productive, Trevor predicts harvesting at least 7.2 tonnes of fish per week. The fish will be stung onsite and trucked to Bay Packers in Mount Maunganui for processing.
The project currently hinges on the decision of Judge Jeff Smith, who is expected to deliver his verdict on the project within the month after hearing submissions for and against the proposal in the Environment Court.