[06 August/Stuff NZ] Senior scientist from Plant and Food Research (PFR) Dr Suzy Black reported at the Open Oceans Aquaculture Symposium this week that researchers are beginning to look into mobile aquaculture farms, allowing them to adapt to seasonal changes and to avoid severe weather events. The research is based on PFR’s successful Mobile Harvest System, a way of harvesting wild fish in a way that leaves the fish calm and in control while in the harvesting nets. They are looking at a range of options such as structures being towed by boast, through to automated structures. The high energy waves of the open ocean and the exposure to potential storms are major difficulties in the process of developing economically viable farms further out to sea than sheltered bays. King Salmon is hoping to begin farming in the Cook Strait as early as next year, due to the sheltered area of the location it trialled. The Cawthron Institute has also been completing research and development into farming shellfish around New Zealand. The majority of New Zealand’s 6 million square kilometres of territory is ocean, with the marine estate being about 15 per cent larger than land, and aquaculture only takes place relatively close to the shore.