Seafood Safety Research Programme.

The Seafood Safety Research Programme has a rich history of research successes

The Seafood Safety Research Programme brings scientists together to collaborate on research that ensures the safety of New Zealand seafood and continued product access to preferred international markets.

This long-term programme has a rich history of research successes, including significant progress on what we know about several toxins in the New Zealand marine context and improved methods for detecting risks. Over the years, the programme has strengthened relationships between industry, regulators, and science. Research priorities are focused through regular Industry Advisory Group (IAG) meetings and this ensures relevance.

Threats to seafood quality and safety are managed through the programme’s research. Current work under the programme includes research to better understand the drivers of harmful algal blooms, advancing molecular technologies to enhance detection, species identification and enumeration, determining the potential impacts of climate change on seafood safety, and improving marine toxin analysis to ensure monitoring and regulation is appropriate. Scientists will also look at pathogenic bacteria and viruses, seeking to better understand bacterial contamination in growing waters and how to minimise post-harvest bacterial contamination, enhance virus monitoring and understanding, and develop tools for microbial source tracking.

Research is underpinned by the Cawthron Institute Culture Collection, an extremely valuable microalgae collection which aids the development of molecular and chemical methods.

The Seafood Safety Research programme is forward looking. The team are well connected internationally, and this helps with identifying and preparing for emerging and future threats. Programme scientists represent New Zealand on international advisory panels, and this is important for ensuring appropriate regulation.

Funder: Ministry for Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) Science Platform.

Partners and collaborators: The Seafood Safety Research Programme is a collaborative and diverse team, led by Cawthron Institute in partnership with AgResearch, Plant & Food Research, and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). Industry and MPI are involved with the programme in order to focus research priorities on seafood sector needs and benefits.

For more information, please contact programme leader Dr Tim Harwood.

News stories:

Dr Tim Harwood Appointed NZFSSRC Deputy Director

Bloomin' heck: Algae shuts down 150 mussel farms

Celebrating seafood safety

Mysterious and large discoloration identified as harmless

Queens Birthday Honours recognises services science and marine farming

Dia Duit! International Conference on Molluscan Shellfish Safety (ICMSS)



Seafood safety research is vital for safeguarding New Zealand’s $1.8B seafood export industry.