A grant of more than $90,000 has been given to help improve Opotiki harbour in a bid to promote economic growth in the area through the expansion of the country's largest offshore marine farm.
Bay of Connections governance group chairman John Cronin said the funding was an important first step towards realising the region's aquaculture potential.
The Opotiki Harbour Transformation project received a $92,000 grant from BayTrust, which would be used for work to improve the Eastern Bay of Plenty town's harbour entrance so it could be used year-round.
The harbour project is part of a wider plan to promote economic growth in the area through the expansion of the marine farm, Eastern Seafarms.
Future development of aquaculture is a key focus of the Bay of Connections, a regional economic development strategy for the wider Bay of Plenty region that sets out the goals and priorities for sustainable, region-wide, economic growth.
Bay of Connections' vision is to grow an integrated and sustainable aquaculture industry in the Bay of Plenty with export sales of $250 million by 2025.
The regional vision is in line with the New Zealand aquaculture strategy, which aims for exports totalling $1 billion by 2025. It's envisaged the Bay of Plenty will be responsible for about a quarter of the aquaculture industry's sales by then.
Research has shown Bay of Plenty waters are among the most productive in New Zealand.