Career Navigation days are helping Marlborough students secure jobs locally. Photo: Steve Hussey Photography.

Smooth sailing for students’ career initiative

It was a case of third time lucky for students taking part in a career’s day to learn more about Marlborough’s aquaculture sector.

The visit offered as part of the Career Navigation programme had to be called off twice, once because of Covid-19 and then because of bad weather.

But it was finally all smooth sailing for the students who got the chance to learn about different aspects of the industry from the team at Sanford.

Career Navigator is currently offered to Year 12 and 13 students at Marlborough Boys’ College, Marlborough Girls’ College and Queen Charlotte College.

It pairs students with businesspeople from a range of industries across the region serving as mentors – coupled with the support of over 120 local businesses and organisations.

Programme coordinator Tania Smith says the programme has been very successful.

“Some students have discovered new pathways they had never considered before.

“Other students have had their career pathways confirmed and now they know more about the reality of the industry they were contemplating.”

From sustainability to naval architecture and design, students were given an insight into the seafood industry.

Tania says the initiative has helped students find jobs in Marlborough.

“We’re also really delighted that some of our previous students have found jobs in their chosen field with employers right here in Marlborough.

“It all goes really well with our vision for all young people to have a purposeful pathway into their future,” she says.

“Enormous thanks to Grant Boyd, Rebekah Anderson, Dave Herbert and Les McClung from Sanford for making it such a cool learning experience for us all – and to Springlands Lifestyle Village for the transport.”

Higher than safe levels of toxins in shellfish have been found in Croisilles Harbour. Photo: Supplied.

Toxic shellfish warning

An alert over toxic shellfish in Croisilles Harbour in the Marlborough Sounds has been issued today.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued a public health warning people not to collect or eat shellfish which, in extreme cases, could kill.

And anyone looking to boost their lockdown menu runs the risk of becoming severley ill.

People should not risk harvesting or eating shellfish in the Croiselles Harbour area. Photo: Supplied.
People should not risk harvesting or eating shellfish in the Croiselles Harbour area. Photo: Supplied.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins to be at dangerous levels.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and hands and feet.

Difficulty breathing, dizziness, vomiting and respiratory failure can follow.

A spokesman says anyone becoming ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued needs urgent medical attention.

“Phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16 or seek medical attention immediately.

“You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.”

Chief customer officer Andre Gargiulo says the aim is to make the best mussel powder “in the world.” Photo: Supplied.

Seafood firm flexes mussels with multimillion-dollar venture

A seafood company has announced plans to invest $20 million dollars in a new Greenshell Mussels extract centre in Blenheim.

Sanford Ltd bosses revealed last week they would build a new Marine Extracts centre to boost their mussel powder power.

The move will create more jobs in the area and plans are already been drawn up for the centre which is set to open early in 2021.

It will focus on the discovery and production of high value nutrition products from New Zealand seafood.

Sanford already makes Greenshell mussel powder from a small facility in Blenheim and its success has convinced the company to go several steps further.

Chief customer officer Andre Gargiulo says the aim is to make the best mussel powder “in the world.”

Greenshell mussel powder. Photo: Supplied.
Greenshell mussel powder. Photo: Supplied.

“We want to make the best mussel powder in the world and more. The demand for marine extracts is huge and it’s only going to grow,” he says.

Greenshell mussel powder can help athletes combat inflammation issues and staff plan to start moving into the benefits of mussel oil.

“The plan is to move into mussel oil and look at extracts from marine species other than mussels.

“There is so much to unlock and we are incredibly excited about the potential,” says Andre.

More than 40 people will be employed in a wide range of roles from scientific research through to production.

Sanford’s current extracts business general manager of innovation, Andrew Stanley says Blenheim the “perfect” place for the new hub.

“It’s a great location. We already have all the natural ingredients just down the road growing in the Marlborough Sounds so it was an ideal location for us to choose.

“Blenheim is also an attractive place to live and that’s a very good thing given the number of highly talented people we will need to attract.

“The lifestyle here is amazing. I recently moved here from Auckland myself and I can vouch for the combination of open spaces, wine country and being near the sea,” he says.

Andrew says science at the new centre will be world leading.

“This is a fantastic new chapter and we’re stoked to be able to share it with the world.”

Shellfish and seawater samples are taken every week from popular shellfish gathering sites around New Zealand and are tested for the presence of toxic algae. Photo: Supplied.

Toxic shellfish alert for Pelorus

A public health warning has been issued after a potentially life-threatening toxin was discovered in shellfish in the Pelorus Sound.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has alerted the public after routine tests found unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Staff are warning that anyone eating shellfish from Nydia Bay could be at risk.

The move comes after MPI lifted the warning from the Marlborough Sounds at the end of May.

MPI bosses said levels above the safe limit of 0.8mg/kg were found during routine testing.

Possible symptoms of the illness include numbness and tingling, difficulties breathing and swallowing and, in extreme cases respiratory failure.

The toxin can also cause headaches and diarrhoea, with inset of symptoms flaring up between 10 minutes and three hours after the infected food being eaten.

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten from the areas effected.

“Cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

“Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut.

If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process”, the spokesperson warned.

Shellfish and seawater samples are taken every week from popular shellfish gathering sites around New Zealand and are tested for the presence of toxic algae.

Algal blooms occur when there is a rapid increase in the number of algae in water.

Blooms may show as large red or brown patches in the sea but sometimes can’t be seen.

An MPI spokesperson advised that anyone falling ill after eating shellfish from a warning zone area should seek immediate medical help.

“Call Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16 or seek medical attention immediately.

“You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.”.

Toxin levels will continue to be monitored.

Commercially harvested shellfish are not affected as they are subjected to regular rigorous testing.

Pest invasion threat

Biosecurity bosses are battling to contain a pest that could prove catastrophic to Marlborough’s multimillion-dollar aquaculture industry.

Marlborough District Council’s biosecurity unit were called in following the discovery of hundreds of invasive pest species.

The worst case of Mediterranean fanworm ever found in Marlborough was uncovered on a boat moored at Waikawa Marina.

While the pest species was immediately destroyed, staff now face an arduous task as more were found on the seabed.

Mediterranean fanworm will readily settle on mussel grow-out lines and may reduce mussel growth by altering water flow around the lines and competing with mussels for suspended food.

Council biosecurity manager Jono Underwood says the find poses a serious threat to both the region’s salmon and mussel industries.

“It can colonise any structure in the water and has a massive filtering factor.

“Not only will it compete for space, it will filter food before it gets to the mussels,” he says.

The sea scourge has only ever been found in Marlborough in low number.

Only a dozen had previously been discovered, says Jono.

But hundreds were found after a boat, which had been in Auckland, was taken out of the water for cleaning.

“It was right up there in density,” he says.

Initially found in Auckland in 2008, the species has been trying to make its way to other parts of New Zealand, Jono says.

“It’s a bit of a nasty one and has high reproductive rates.

“Our whole goal is to try and make sure it’s not established here in Marlborough.

“We want to make sure that more and more people know about it.

“Vessel owners and operators need to play their part, know the rules, and keep their vessels clean, especially when moving around.”

“Everyone needs to be especially vigilant moving boats from northern hubs such as Auckland and Whangarei, where the fanworm is well-established and can easily establish itself on to a vessel.

“If you’re moving something south, a lift and clean immediately prior to departure is your best chance of avoiding an unwanted passenger.”

The owner was unaware of the fouling, which was probably smaller in size when the vessel came south six months ago.

Any findings must be reported by law. Worried boaties should contact  Marlborough District Council or Ministry for Primary Industries.