The New Zealand Abalone Farmer's Association (NZAFA) was formed in 1986 by industry pioneers to represent the interests and foster the development of the fledgling New Zealand Paua farming industry. The Association was established to become a key contact for investors, new farmers and firms wishing to do business with the New Zealand Paua farming sector.
The New Zealand Paua farming industry has had a history of small "kiwi" style operators. Over the years in back yards and sheds all over the country these farmers have developed techniques and processes for the best way to grow Paua. This backyard development has been essential to current systems and processes used by NZAFA members.
Farmed Paua is an emerging market and although current production is only at low levels (approx 10 to 15 tons annually). Current development will see key farms produce 50 tons in the near future and 300 tons in the next 10 years making it a $20 million industry with significant growth from there.
The New Zealand industry is still in its fledgling stage, and is one of the smaller volumetric producers in the world. There are currently 14 Farms are located nationwide, from Whangarei to Stewart Island.
The industry's potential economic and environmental contribution to our community is substantial. The Association has set a goal of $20 million in farm gate sales by 2015. Within the next twenty years the industry should provide 1000's direct jobs and indirect jobs with a farm gate value increasing with market development. Currently our members are researching value adding opportunities benefiting wholesalers and retailers, this will significantly increase as worldwide markets are explored.
Paua farming is still one of the smallest aquaculture sectors in New Zealand, but enormous opportunity remains for new areas of development and growth in grow-out, hatchery, processing, marketing and service sectors. Recirculation technology has been embraced by some farms, which until now has not been explored for commercial scale paua farming throughout the rest of the world.
Membership of the Association is voluntary. Currently, the rate is standard for all types of membership, but may change as the industry develops, possibly set by the production for grower's and at a nominal flat rate for Associate Membership.
The association has membership from scientific institutions like NIWA and the Cawthron Institute. This allows great communication and joint initiatives between association members and these organisations.
The Association has the strong support of the industry at all levels. The NZAFA aim is to achieve membership from 100% of growers across New Zealand. These facts, combined with the economic potential of the industry will ensure that NZAFA has a strong voice at all levels of government.
As well as aiming to become a lobbying power, members of the Association receive the social benefits of networking within industry and related sectors - exchanging ideas and discussing products and methods to improve performance. The Association is encouraged by recent growth in the number of Associate members reflecting increasing corporate and service sector expectations for projected growth in coming years.