Archive | Aquaculture

4 salmon farms approved, EDS to appeal against one

The board of inquiry on NZ King Salmon Ltd’s application to develop new marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds has decided to approve 4 farms, consistent with last year’s draft report.

Conservation Minister Nick Smith was pleased, but the Environment Defence Society said it would appeal against one farm’s approval.

Dr Smith said following release of the board’s final report yesterday: “The board has undertaken a thorough process, being mindful of the need for New Zealand to conserve its natural resources with the need to grow exports, jobs & wealth.

“These farms will occupy an area of just 6ha of surface water space out of a total of about 100,000ha in the Marlborough Sounds. They will enable King Salmon to grow its production from 7500 to 15,000 tonnes/year, employ another 170 people and boost its annual export earnings by an extra $60 million.

“The board’s report is the product of the Government’s resource management & aquaculture reforms. The old process for acquiring new aquaculture space was cumbersome and could take over a decade for decisions to be made. The Government addressed this by giving specific recognition to aquaculture in the NZ coastal policy statement, amending the Resource Management Act to enable coastal plan changes & consents to be considered in a single process and creating the Environmental Protection Authority to allow for consenting of proposals of national significance.”

Environmental Defence Society chairman Gary Taylor said acknowledged that the board had declined consent for 5 sites but said it had not gone far enough: “The areas the industrial-scale consented farms are to be located in are highly natural and in prominent locations in the iconic & internationally renowned Marlborough Sounds.

“The council plan for the Sounds already sets a clear framework for aquaculture, where it was provided for and where it was prohibited. This community-sanctioned plan is now being over-ridden.

“Large parts of the Marlborough Sounds are already set aside for aquaculture, with the rest protected for their outstanding landscapes & tourism values. We are losing the balance between conservation & development interests with this decision.

“There are important national issues at stake relating to the NZ coastal policy statement. The policy statement is clear that adverse effects on areas of outstanding natural character & outstanding natural landscapes should be avoided. The board of inquiry found that the Port Gore (Papatua) site is outstanding but then approved it for salmon farming. We think that is wrong in law.

“We are therefore preparing an appeal to the High Court and will be seeking approval to file proceedings from our board.”

Attribution: Ministerial & EDS releases, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Government supports investigation of Northland aquaculture sites

Published 26 March 2009

Environment Minister Nick Smith & Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley said today the Government would investigate finfish & oyster farming opportunities in Northland.


They said the Government would allow 19 possible aquaculture management area sites identified by the Northland Regional Council to be evaluated for their potential as marine farms, as well as investigating whether other promising sites exist around the Northland coast.


Mr Heatley said: "This co-ordinated approach to planning for the future dovetails with the Government’s overhaul of the Resource Management Act, which includes the rules governing aquaculture. The aquaculture industry has a goal of becoming a $1 billion/year industry by the year 2025 and the Government is committed to helping it achieve this target."


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Attribution: Government release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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Bills to clarify aquaculture laws introduced

Published 24 July 2008

Environment Minister Trevor Mallard introduced 2 bills to Parliament yesterday amending aquaculture legislation “to confirm the original intent of aquaculture law reform and help the industry develop”.


Mr Mallard said: “The Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill will clarify the intent of the original aquaculture reform legislation, which was that applications for aquaculture activities were only to be made in aquaculture management areas in operative regional coastal plans.


“The Aquaculture Legislation Amendment Bill (No 2) amends legislation to facilitate the creation of new aquaculture management areas, address issues relating to invited private plan changes, enable experimental aquaculture, provide for aquaculture agreements in transitional processes under the old Fisheries legislation, support environmental monitoring & other technical amendments relating to the 2004 aquaculture reforms.


“The issues with existing legislation have arisen from a May 2006 decision of the Environment Court, in the case of SMW Consortium Ltd v Tasman District Council.

“Without the amendments contained in these 2 bills, applications for aquaculture activities would be able to be made before aquaculture management areas were defined in regional coastal plans. This was not the intention when the aquaculture legislation was first developed.


Among other points, the bill:


·         ensures applications for occupation of the coastal marine area for aquaculture activities can’t be made unless they relate to management areas in operative regional coastal plans

·         cancels any applications that were made after 9 May 2006, the date of the SMW decision, that don’t relate to management areas in operative regional coastal plans (no applications have been made since that date)

·         freezes those applications made between 1 January 2005-9 May 2006, and only allows them to be processed if the area covered by the application becomes a management area in an operative regional coastal plan. If the area covered by the application doesn’t become a management area within 10 years of commencement of the bill, those applications will be cancelled, and

·         clarifies that management areas can be created in 3 defined ways.


Earlier stories:

27 April 2008: Northland aquaculture rules decided

25 March 2008: 2 Coromandel interim aquaculture management areas declared


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Attribution: Ministerial release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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Northland aquaculture rules decided

Published 27 April 2008

The Northland Regional Council confirmed on 16 April parts of Northland – including Whangarei Harbour & the eastern Bay of Islands – will effectively be off-limits to marine farming.


Councillors confirmed a number of recommendations from a 4-member hearings committee which considered more than 330 submissions late last year on the council’s proposals to establish an aquaculture planning framework for Northland.


The decisions on aquaculture management areas are in plan change 4 to the regional coastal plan for Northland.


The decision reconfirmed that the “invited private plan change” process would be the main way aquaculture management areas are created in Northland. Under this approach, which the council adopted 2 years ago, would-be marine farmers – not Northland’s ratepayers – will have to pay the costs of having areas zoned as an aquaculture management area.


The committee’s decisions will be notified and a summary of the decisions provided to every submitter.  The decisions are then open to appeal for 30 working days.


Hearings committee chairman Lorraine Hill said one key concern of submitters was that the council’s plans didn’t ban marine farming from specific areas. That changed when councillors agreed with the committee’s recommendations to include a raft of AMA restriction areas in which aquaculture will effectively be off-limits.


These include marine reserves & areas originally identified in the council’s 4-year-old regional coastal plan as inappropriate for aquaculture, including:


Whangarei Harbour the eastern Bay of Islands & inner Doubtless Bay Houhora, Parengarenga & Rangaunu Harbours large parts of Kaipara Harbour (the northern half; the southern half is in the Auckland region and was included this month among indicative aquaculture-excluded areas). 

Cllr Hill said the only real exemption to the AMA restriction areas would be a provision allowing for small, non-commercial marae-based aquaculture proposals. However, even these would only be allowed if they can show they will have negligible impact on the important values of these areas.


Cllr Hill said while the new provisions would protect important areas of Northland’s coast, there would still be many parts of the region that are potentially available for aquaculture: “In these areas, the plan contains robust provisions to guide decisions and should give both would-be marine farmers – & the community at large – a great deal more certainty.”


Website: Northland Regional Council, aquaculture planning


Earlier stories:

14 April 2008: ARC proposal will send marine farmers out to sea

25 March 2008: 2 Coromandel interim aquaculture management areas declared

19 April 2006: High natural character beats economic benefit as Kaipara mussel farm consent overturned

30 January 2002: Environment Court approves Pegasus Bay project


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Attribution: Council release, story written by Bob Dey for this website.

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2 Coromandel interim aquaculture management areas declared

Published 24 March 2008

2 interim aquaculture management areas totalling 2573ha at Wilson Bay in the Firth of Thames have been declared by an Order in Council.


The new Wilson Bay marine farming zone is 1.5km off the coast of Kereta, about 5km south of the entrance to Coromandel Harbour.


Area A covers 1400ha, is closer to shore and has 171 marine farm blocks – all allocated under the old aquaculture law but not all with established farms on them. Another 690ha of marine farm blocks has been excluded from the interim aquaculture management area as they are already deemed aquaculture management areas under the repeal act.


Area B covers 1073ha, of which 520ha will be farmable space under the current rules of the Waikato regional coastal plan. It has no existing marine farms but does have applications for spat catching. The ministry said that once the management area makes the transition from interim status, those applications can be progressed and aquaculture development could occur.


The decision came 2 days short of the seventh anniversary of the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Act, which followed a 2-year ban instituted in November 2001 on consents for new aquaculture activities. The moratorium act was repealed by the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals & Transitional Provisions) Act 2004, but advances towards new aquaculture activity have been slow since then.


The moratorium was lifted for specified areas in the Kaipara Harbour and for Pegasus Bay, Canterbury, in 2004. The first order under the repeal act was made for Golden Bay & Tasman Bay in 2005.


Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick & Environment Waikato chairman Peter Buckley announced the boost for the Coromandel aquaculture industry on Wednesday.


Ms Chadwick said the Government was encouraging the use of aquaculture management areas to make better use of existing aquaculture space and to support sustainable aquaculture practices: “Declaring these areas to be interim management areas is another step forward in implementing the aquaculture reforms….. This is a good outcome for Environment Waikato, given their hard work to develop the aquaculture zone in Wilson Bay before the new legislation came into force.”


Mr Buckley said: “My council is pleased progress has been made towards allowing further aquaculture development that will also ensure the interests of residents, boaties, fishers & tourists, as well as marine mammals & other wildlife, are looked after.”


Aquaculture was well established in one of the Wilson Bay sites before the moratorium and a 2007 Environment Waikato report said marine farming contributed $27 million annually to the regional economy, employed the equivalent of 270 full-time staff and paid $9.6 million in wages & salaries. About another 100 full-time jobs were related to the industry.


Ms Chadwick said the next step was for Environment Waikato to ask the Ministry of Fisheries to consider any effects of the interim aquaculture management areas on fishing & fisheries resources and impose any necessary reservations.


The aquaculture legislation that ended the moratorium restricts aquaculture to management areas established in the regional coastal plan. Section 36 of the Aquaculture Reform (Repeals & Transitional Provisions) Act 2004 provides an exception for an interim management area to be declared where a council has already established provisions in its regional coastal plan to zone & manage aquaculture, and those provisions adequately address the adverse effects on the environment (other than on fishing & fisheries resources) of aquaculture activities & occupations.


The declaration of interim aquaculture management areas in the Waikato will be followed by ministry consideration, under sections 38-41 of the repeal act, of the effect the interim aquaculture management areas would have on fishing & the sustainability of fisheries resources (an “aquaculture decision”). In making an aquaculture decision, the ministry chief executive can make a determination or a reservation. If the decision is a determination, the interim management areas can then become fully fledged aquaculture management areas.


Earlier story:

19 April 2006: High natural character beats economic benefit as Kaipara mussel farm consent overturned


Want to comment? Email [email protected].


Attribution: Government release, ministry background, story written by Bob Dey for The Bob Dey Property Report.

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