Iwi leaders from across the Waiariki region are meeting today to find out how to make the most of their combined fisheries assets for whānau and the rest of the world.
A report identifying potential aquaculture opportunities for the region will be released at the hui in Rotorua today.
The report says under historical Treaty of Waitangi settlements, the Crown is obliged to help iwi access to up to 10,000ha of aquaculture space in the Waiariki area.
It was commissioned by Ngā Iwi I te Rohe o Te Waiariki, as part of their "due diligence" in accessing the space.
It identifies the development of aquaculture hatcheries, technology, co-operative models, workforce training and a brand that leverages traceability and Māori identity, as potential areas for expansion, to make the Bay of Plenty Māori aquaculture industry sustainable, resilient and world class.
The kaupapa is "not an exercise in business as usual", according to Bay of Plenty iwi aquaculture project leader and Te Arawa Fisheries chief executive, Chris Karamea Insley.
He said Waiariki iwi were focused on "how we can do this together, care for our moana and importantly, support our whānau".
"The reality is that global wild stock fisheries are in decline, while global demand for protein is growing and we need to be planning now to cater for that demand."
Insley acknowledged that iwi organisations were already doing a lot, and cited Whakatōhea Mussels Ōpōtiki Ltd's project building the world's largest marine mussel farm, which was creating hundreds of jobs and has had tens-of-millions of dollars in Provincial Growth Fund backing.
However, he said a lot more could and should be done in the Waiariki rohe, "including high-value processing technology, remote monitoring and artificial intelligence, which offers a multitude of opportunities at every level of the aquaculture sector, from fishing vessels, through to processing, retail and exports".
The report also says fisheries hatcheries are fundamental internationally but a lack of hatcheries will be a constraint to growth and investment in the New Zealand industry going forward - so Bay of Plenty iwi can help meet this need.
It also notes that geothermal power resources in the Waiariki rohe could be used for processing high-value fisheries products, such as dried seaweed.
It lists shellfish such as mussels, oysters, scallops and geoducks and fin fish such as kingfish, trevally and snapper, as species to trial and research for potentially scaling up.
Insley said the iwi would incorporate te ao Māori in their collective fisheries management.
"It is imperative that social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects are all balanced and considered together, empowering kaitiakitanga."
The report says co-operative models could "transform" business potential for iwi and "address key constraints of access to finance and spat [larvae] supply".
It includes input from the Universities of Waikato and Auckland, Crown Research Institute Plant & Food Research, the Cawthron Institute and NIWA.
The Ngā Iwi I te Rohe o Te Waiariki fisheries hui will begin at Novotel at 10am.