Mussel farming pioneer Rob Pooley has been recognised for 40 years of contribution to the industry, receiving the inaugural Seafood Stars Longstanding Service Award.
The Seafood Stars awards were handed out at the Seafood New Zealand conference yesterday to reward innovation and excellence within the industry.
Rob has had a life-long association with the seafood industry, initially as a crayfisherman in North Canterbury and for the past 40 years with the marine farming industry in the top of the South Island.
A pioneer of the marine farming industry, Rob’s father Bill gained a mussel license for off Motunau Beach in North Canterbury, where father and son were lobster and long line fishing in the 1970s. Problems working in the unsheltered, open water meant the farm was never developed.
Rob Pooley’s first foray into marine farming in the Marlborough Sounds was in partnership with Chris Godsiff and Kevin Bonnington at Rams Head in the mid-1970s. By 1981 Rob and his family were living and working in Elaine Bay. His son Simon has followed his father into the business which has interests across the top of the South Island.
Rob has served for 25 years on the Executive Committee of the Marine Farming Association, including four years as vice president and the last 16 years as president. He is also on the board of Aquaculture New Zealand.
In addition, he has served on various industry boards, supporting companies and executive committees such as the Marlborough Shellfish Quality Programme, the Mussel Industry Council, the New Zealand Aquaculture Council and Marine and General Ltd.
He is currently a director of Ngai Tahu Seafood Ltd and Ngati Koa Ltd. He is also a director of numerous seafood companies including Just Mussels Ltd, RP Holdings Ltd, Tawhitinui Greenshell Ltd, and Golden Bay Marine Farmers Consortium Ltd.