Moana serious about environmental responsibilities
Working on the very edge of Northland’s east coast with sand and sea only metres away is both a necessity and an absolute treat for staff at New Zealand’s only commercial paua farm, Moana New Zealand – blue abalone. However, it also means extra care needs to be taken too.
Scientist Lynette Suvalko says that in all its operations, Moana works to minimise its environmental footprint, and taking on the care and restoration of the dunes in front of the Moana site in Bream Bay is a key part of that.
“It’s literally our backyard, the sand dunes are right outside our offices and lunchroom on the NIWA Bream Bay Aquaculture Park. They’re so important because not only are they part of the natural character of the coastal environment, but they play a huge role in maintaining coastal water quality, and provide the land with protection,” she says.
Lynette took the initiative and contacted Northland Regional Council (NRC) to find out if Moana could take ownership of the care of the foreshore. The land is owned by the Crown and managed by the Department of Conservation, and the NRC Environmental Assets Division has come up with a plan for restoration and to improve biodiversity. Local iwi, Patukarakeke, is also very supportive of the initiatives.
The plan largely consists of cultivating and planting native species and weeding out exotic species to create an environment that is more hospitable for species such as the endangered Fairy Tern, which are moving further afield from the traditional nesting site at Ruakaka.
The first of what are planned to be monthly working bees was held last month, with both Moana and NIWA staff involved, with the intention to work on small areas at a time and monitor the effect to ensure a long term positive outcome, says Lynette.
Moana New Zealand – blue abalone, is also working towards its Aquaculture Stewardship Council certification to meet the toughest global standards for responsible aquaculture. It aims to go through the auditing process later this year and if successful, will be the fourth abalone farm in the world to achieve certification.
“Our business is built on natural resources and people, and sustainability is at the heart of what we do both out in the environment and in our own operations. Our values of whakatipuranga and kaitiakitanga – of being true to nature and to future generations – are the essence of our efforts in this area,” says Moana New Zealand chief executive Carl Carrington.
PROTECTING: Lynette Suvalko of Moana New Zealand at work helping restore the dunes at Bream Bay.