800 hectares of new aquaculture space approved
17 April 2008
The Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) announced today that three applications for aquaculture space have been approved in recent months in Tasman Bay, Golden Bay, and Kaipara Harbour. These decisions have granted an additional 803ha of space for aquaculture development in New Zealand.
In late January, MFish approved an application for a 249ha site in Golden Bay, roughly 5km offshore of Collingwood.
In March, MFish made a final decision to approve an application for a 76ha oyster farming site in Kaipara Harbour. This decision increases the area available for aquaculture in the Auckland region.
Last week, MFish approved an application for a 479ha site in Tasman Bay.
The preliminary decision on the Tasman Bay site in 2007 declined the site because of adverse effects on commercial fishing. MFish has since received additional information that shows the adverse effects on commercial fishing are lower than previously thought.
“I am now satisfied the proposed marine farm would not have an undue adverse effect on commercial fishing,” said MFish Aquaculture Manager Dan Lees.
“All three of these decisions required careful consideration,” said Mr Lees. “We had to judge whether these proposed farms would unduly affect fishing or the sustainability of fisheries resources.
“The marine environment and the interests of existing users of our fisheries and the coastal marine area are very important.”
Marine farming applicants must provide a comprehensive environmental impact assessment to satisfy the Ministry that their proposed activity is sustainable.
“The New Zealand public and international consumers are demanding sustainably produced seafood,” says Mr Lees. “New Zealand leads the world in sustainable and environmentally responsible aquaculture.”
The Tasman and Golden Bay applications are not part of the Tasman District Council’s proposed 2109ha interim Aquaculture Management Areas (AMAs) that are also being considered by MFish.
MFish released a preliminary decision on the interim AMAs in February. The preliminary decision approved 108ha, but declined 2001ha because of the effects on fisheries resources or commercial scallop and snapper fishing. MFish gave affected parties eight weeks to make submissions and provide any additional information they would like considered before making a final decision. The submission period has now been extended by a month and will close on 16 May 2008.
“People now have extra time if they wish to take these recent decisions into account in their submissions on the proposed interim AMAs,” Mr Lees said.