MFish approves staged development for Bay of Plenty marine farm
22 December 2006
The Ministry of Fisheries has recommended a marine farm permit be granted to Eastern Sea Farms Limited for staged development of a 3,800 ha farm in Eastern Bay of Plenty.
The resource consent is currently under appeal by the Environment Court. Under the dual permit system, the Ministry of Fisheries can process the application but cannot issue a marine farming permit until the Court has approved the resource consent. Eastern Seafarms Limited has given MFish the approval to go ahead with processing the marine farming permit.
Staged development allows for 8 blocks, equating to 256 longlines, to be developed. Any further development would depend on whether monitoring shows environmental effects are acceptable.
Earlier this year, affected parties were given the opportunity to comment on a preliminary decision. In response to that preliminary decision, MFish received additional information relating to both fishing and the sustainability of any fisheries resource.
“We had to judge whether the proposed farm would unduly affect fishing, or the sustainability of fisheries resources in the area,” says Ministry of Fisheries’ aquaculture manager Dan Lees.
“While the application site appears suitable for marine farming, MFish is concerned about the effects of the large-scale farm on the sustainability of fisheries resources and commercial fishing in the wider Bay of Plenty.
“There is very little information available on the long-term effects of large scale marine farms in New Zealand. Therefore we have approached development of the farm with caution.”
This application was notified by council before the recent aquaculture reforms came in, and therefore must be processed under the previous legislation.