MFish makes final decisions on marine farm permit applications in Golden / Tasman Bays
9 May 2007
The Ministry of Fisheries has made final decisions on three large marine farm permit applications in Golden and Tasman Bays. Two have been granted and one declined.
“We had to judge whether these proposed farms would unduly affect fishing or fisheries resources in the area,” said Ministry of Fisheries aquaculture manager Dan Lees.
“All three farms had significant effects on commercial fishing, so no decision was straightforward.”
The Ministry has made a final decision to decline a permit application for a 770 ha mussel farm west of D’Urville Island.
Mr Less said the farm would have lain over fishing grounds important to the inshore trawl fishery and limited the ability of commercial fishers to work in the area. The inshore trawl fishery is already affected by marine farm development in the Marlborough Sounds, where access to historical fishing grounds has decreased.
The farm would have also impacted the sustainability of the flatfish resource in the area. Therefore, the Ministry was not satisfied that the farm would not have an undue adverse effect on the fishery.
The other two final decisions grant mussel-spat catching permits to expand sites in Tasman Bay (from 200 ha to 540 ha) and in Golden Bay (from 200 ha to 660 ha).
Mr Lees said these are located over important scallop fishing grounds.
“As with the trawl fishery, the scallop fishery has been affected by marine farm development in the Marlborough Sounds and Golden and Tasman Bays. However, we are satisfied that the adverse effects on the scallop fishery are not yet undue.”
In November 2005, the Ministry of Fisheries made preliminary decisions on all three applications. Since that time, stakeholders provided additional information regarding all three applications. Mr Lees said the Ministry considered this information but did not believe it changed the final outcome of the decisions.
These applications had been made under the old aquaculture law - applications that were notified by regional councils before the aquaculture moratorium (November 2001). This means that these applicants must obtain both a resource consent from the council and a marine farming or spat catching permit from the Ministry of Fisheries.
Under the old law, the Ministry may only issue a permit if satisfied the proposed marine farm or spat catching activity would not have an undue adverse effect on fishing (commercial, recreational and customary) or on the sustainability of any fisheries resource (fish, aquatic life or seaweed).
These applications are not part of the Tasman District Council’s proposed Interim Aquaculture Management Areas (IAMAs). The proposed IAMAs will be processed under the new aquaculture law. Ministry of Fisheries will be making a decision on the proposed IAMAs later this year.