[26 April/NZ Farmer]

Mahurangi Technical Institute Founder, Paul Decker, said cellular agriculture is an exciting technology that is worth pursuing. The technology sees animal meat able to be grown in fermentation tanks rather than raising animals for slaughter. A single gram of cells taken from a live animal can be grown to produce 10,000 kilograms of meat. The technology was seen as a way to provide sustainable fish protein and take pressure off wild stocks. Mr Decker set up the institute to specialise in native fish research to save species by learning how to breed them. He had seen success with white bait species. Success in breeding eels had remained elusive. Wild eel numbers have plummeted by 95 percent in the last 30 years. New Zealand’s longfin eel was classified by the Department of Conservation as ‘At risk – Declining.’ If it is commercially viable, the possibility of cellular agriculture could save endangered animals according to Mr Decker.