More than 100 people toured the Cawthron Aquaculture Park in Glenduan during its first Open Day in 10 years.
The open day followed a period of expansion at the park which included the development of a Finfish Research Centre in 2018 and the National Algae Centre in 2021 on the 20ha site located about 15 minutes from Nelson’s CBD. The park also has purpose designed wet laboratories, intensive algae culture facilities, dry laboratories and a nursery building serviced by managed algae ponds, offices and amenities.
Health and Safety, and Biosecurity regulations have made it difficult to allow visitors onto the park in the same way that used to happen prior to 2013 when the last Open Day occurred there.
Cawthron has fielded several requests from various groups wanting to visit the facilities in recent times, and Aquaculture Park staff were also eager to share their mahi with the public. So a plan was devised to meet all the required regulations by running hour-long tours limited to 12 people in each, confined to certain areas of the park.
All tours were fully booked within 12 hours of the tickets being made available online. Staff were blown away by the support and enthusiasm of the public who were itching to get a glimpse of what happens beyond Cawthron’s gates.
Renée Sturch came from Blenheim to attend one of the tours. “I’m astonished at the range of things that are being studied here, from the geoduck and salmon to the algae for feeding spat and mussels and different species’’ she said.
Cawthron aquaculture scientist Natali Delorme said she enjoyed engaging with different people who had no science background. “I get to see how excited they get when we are giving the talks and showing them the research that we do.’’
Cawthron is now looking to incorporate the tours in its regular schedule of community events, alongside other initiatives like the Thomas Cawthron Annual Memorial Lecture, the Cawthron Scitec Expo, Freshwater Champions Aotearoa New Zealand and the Year 13 Mussel Biology Workshops.
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