Tauranga, New Zealand mayor Stuart Crosby meets with the mayor of Yantai, China, Shang Jiangting, during a Bay of Plenty delegation's visit to Yantai. Photo courtesy http://sunlive.co.nz

Tauranga, New Zealand mayor Stuart Crosby meets with the mayor of Yantai, China, Shang Jiangting, during a Bay of Plenty delegation’s visit to Yantai. Photo courtesy http://sunlive.co.nz

Research institutions in New Zealand and China are developing a Coastal Innovation partnership focused on algal aquaculture. As reported in the Bay of Plenty Times, a delegation from Tauranga, New Zealand recently visited its sister city of Yantai, China to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the relationship.

Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said a key outcome of the visit was to advance an agreement between the University of Waikato and the Yantai Institute of Coastal Research to establish a Sino-New Zealand coastal innovation partnership.

The partnership has a mutual interest in research and commercial opportunities in marine biotechnology and aquaculture. “A specific area of interest is in algal aquaculture for agrichemicals,” said Mayor Crosby.

The institutions will collaborate in a workshop to be held in Tauranga in December to fast-track work on seaweed aquaculture. It would supply to Australia, New Zealand and China producers of high-grade fertilizers, cattle feed and other high value products. The mayor said the aim of the workshop was to establish a formal business partnership by the end of this year.

Four Chinese companies have indicated they will attend, with Tauranga’s economic development agency Priority One working with Waikato University to identify New Zealand companies that might be interested.

In support of the partnership, the 2nd International Conference for Coastal Biotechnology will be held in Tauranga next May. Mr. Crosby said the conference could attract up to 500 marine scientists. Tourism Bay of Plenty is assisting with organizing the event.