WAIKARE INLET OYSTER FARMERS SERVED NOTICES OF DEFAULT
4 February 2003
The Ministry of Fisheries has served notices of default on 20 oyster farms in Waikare Inlet in the Bay of Islands.
Ministry of Fisheries' senior fisheries management advisor, Scott Williamson, said the need to serve notices of default on these farms was regrettable, but the leaseholders concerned were not currently meeting one or more of the obligations under their marine farm leases.
The Ministry of Fisheries inspected the marine farm lease areas in the entire Waikare Inlet on 16 January 2003 and noted that 20 of the farms were in breach of one or more of the conditions on their leases. The breaches range from the failure to ensure that the shellfish farmed on the lease are fit for human consumption to not keeping the leased area free of debris.
The notices of default give the farmers three months to remedy the breaches. The affected farmers may choose to sell their leases to a buyer who is willing to bring them back into operation.
If a leaseholder does not remedy the breaches of conditions of their leases, or does not apply to the Ministry to assign (sell) the lease to an appropriate party who will remedy the breaches, the marine farm lease may be forfeit to the Crown. Once forfeit, the area cannot be transferred to another farmer, and the last leaseholder may be required to pay for the removal of the structures and returning the area to the original condition.
"These marine farming leases are much sought after, as space for marine farming is limited," said Mr Williamson. "As with any scarce resource, the leased areas are worth a considerable amount as an asset. I believe that the farmers will want to protect the value of their asset by meeting the conditions of their marine farming leases and get these farms back into operation."
For further information please contact:
Scott Williamson, Senior Fisheries Management Advisor, Ministry of Fisheries
Tel 027 268 7058
- Waikare Inlet oyster leases were issued under the Marine Farming Act 1971 and administer the physical occupation of the space.
- This legislation was substantively repealed by the Resource Management Act 1991 that was intended to take over management of coastal space and aquaculture. The Ministry of Fisheries continues to be responsible for the vestigial portions of Marine Farming Act 1971 until the Aquaculture law reform process is completed.
- Marine farm leases are issued for 14 years and are subject to conditions and covenants.
- A copy of an example lease is available.
- Total of 25 marine farming leases.
- 17 leases have withdrawn from shellfish sanitation programme and have been classified as prohibited.
- Four leases in the upper Inlet continue to participate in the shellfish sanitation programme and are classified as 'conditionally approved' for sale domestically or for export.
- Four leases continue to participate in the shellfish sanitation programme and are classified as restricted. This requires shellfish to be moved to approved or conditionally approved waters for up eight weeks prior to sale.
Notice of default
- Notices of Default were served on 20 lessees for breach of marine farm lease conditions.
- 10 farms had breached some or all of the following conditions or obligations on their marine farm leases:
- ensure that the fish, shellfish, or marine vegetation, farmed in the leased area are not rendered unfit for human consumption
- mark the leased area as required
- maintain and structures within the leased area in good order and repair
- utilise and cultivate the leased area in a proper manner for the farming of the species of fish, shellfish or marine vegetation named in the respective lease
- keep the leased area free of marine farming debris and stock, and remove any build up of the foreshore of seabed
- not deposit marine farming debris in the leased area.
- A further 10 marine farm leases in Waikare Inlet were only in breach of the condition that requires leaseholders to ensure that the fish, shellfish, or marine vegetation, farmed in the leased area, are not rendered unfit for human consumption.
- Leaseholders have been given three months to remedy breaches.
- If unable or unwilling to remedy breaches of the lease, the lessee may apply to the Ministry of Fisheries to assign (sell) the marine farming lease to an appropriate party who is willing and able to remedy breaches.
After three months leases may be subject to forfeiture if breaches are not remedied.