Rights: © Copyright 2014. University of Waikato. All rights reserved. Published 9 June 2014 Download

At present, New Zealand’s surf clam industry is small – but a collaboration between AUT and the Cloudy Bay Group (including Cloudy Bay Clams) is looking to change that. The two organisations have been working together since 2011, looking at ways to increase the Cloudy Bay clam harvest. In this video clip, Associate Professor Lindsey White (AUT) and Luke Krieg (Manager Commercial Research, AUT) explain how they put together an interdisciplinary team of scientists at AUT to provide research support for Cloudy Bay Clams. They describe the mutual trust that has strengthened and extended the collaboration and spell out their vision for a mature surf clam industry in New Zealand.

Points of interest

  • Cloudy Bay Clams harvest five different species of surf clam from New Zealand’s coastal waters. You can read about each species on the Cloudy Bay Clams website. www.cloudybayclams.co.nz/species.asp
  • You can learn more about how another New Zealand bivalve mollusc, the green-lipped mussel, is harvested in this article farming_green_lipped_mussels

Teaching point
Students could identify and discuss the advantages of AUT’s interdisciplinary approach. How did this strengthen the collaboration with Cloudy Bay Clams?


Assoc Prof Lindsey White
Cloudy Bay Clams came to us wanting to increase the amount of clams that can be harvested so they can grow their business. And what we did here is we put together an interdisciplinary team, scientists, so people who work on GIS, geographical information systems, statisticians, biologists. And we put together this team that enabled us to go into the field and determine exactly how many clams are there and what the increases could be.

Luke Kreig
They described in business terms what their needs were, and we translated those into research opportunities, arranged with them ranging from marine biology, to food science to culinary arts, and they have developed from very small projects to the very large project that we are currently engaged in.

Assoc Prof Lindsey White
From these very small and low-cost projects, we built a relationship, built this collaborative relationship with them and built some sort of trust, so that later, in 2012, when we wanted to do these larger surveys that are quite expensive, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars, Cloudy Bay Clams had the confidence that we would carry out that work for them.

Luke Kreig
We’re not approaching this from a university-centric approach that’s often divided by disciplines. We’re looking at the business needs and addressing those regardless of what expertise might be required.

Assoc Prof Lindsey White
So currently, the surf clam industry in New Zealand is quite small, you know, a couple of million bucks a year in export earnings. With the R&D that we’re providing and with this collaboration with Cloudy Bay Clams, we would expect a mature industry to be bringing in 300– 400 million dollars in export earnings every year. And that’s sort of where we’re headed.

As the number of clams harvested increases, what you don’t want is the price to go down. And so what some of the projects we’re working on is the value added. So the nutraceuticals project, where we’re looking at the actual health benefits of different components of these clams so that we can actually create health products, which may have a range of nutraceutical benefits for people.

Luke Kreig
The exciting part about this relationship is the fact that it showcases our interdisciplinary research, it showcases the fact that we collaborate with other research providers, it allows real industry exposure for our students. It’s what AUT is about.

Assoc Prof Lindsey White
This research is underpinning the growth of what could be one of New Zealand’s largest fisheries. I mentioned figures of 300–400 million dollars annually in terms of export earnings. That’s going to create a lot of jobs. That’s one of the main benefits we’ve got here.

Video courtesy of Kiwi Innovation Network Limited
© Kiwi Innovation Network Limited, 2013