Tasman aquaculture management area
15 February 2008
More than 100 hectares of new aquaculture space in the Tasman region has received preliminary approval, Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton announced today.
He said the advice he received from the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish) was that preliminary approval would be granted for 108 hectares of new aquaculture space.
To approve an interim aquaculture management area (AMA), MFish must be satisfied that there would not be an undue adverse effect on fishing and the sustainability of fisheries resources.
A further 2001 hectares that was applied for has been declined, because of the effects on fisheries resources and commercial scallops and snapper fishing.
“MFish is concerned about the cumulative effects of marine farming development on commercial fishing in the Tasman region,” Jim Anderton said.
“Available information suggests there are already measurable effects on the commercial scallop and snapper fisheries due to existing marine farms in Tasman and Marlborough. Commercial fishers stand to be further affected by development of the interim AMA sites.”
“Aquaculture is a potential growth industry, but commercial fishing is already important to the economy of the Nelson region,” Jim Anderton said.
“While the Government supports sustainable aquaculture, it needs to be located in the right place. Better planning is a key element of the aquaculture reforms process.”
Nearly two thirds of all aquaculture in New Zealand is in the Tasman and Marlborough regions. There are already 8,374 ha of existing aquaculture space in these regions.
MFish is also declining some of the interim AMA near Collingwood because of potential undue adverse effects on the sustainability of fisheries resources.
Under the international Convention on Wetlands, Farewell Spit is regarded as a significant and important site for shorebirds. MFish has concerns about the possible effect on inter-tidal habitats that are important for these shorebirds because of the potential flow-on effects from plankton depletion by mussel farming.
The submission period for the preliminary decision on the Tasman interim AMA will close on 16 April 2008. MFish aims to make a final decision in May or June 2008.
Affected parties have eight weeks to provide additional information before MFish makes a final decision.
Jim Anderton said that if the final decision was still to decline areas on commercial fishing grounds, potential marine farmers and affected commercial interests would have an opportunity to negotiate a voluntary aquaculture agreement, which will enable aquaculture development to proceed.
Voluntary aquaculture agreements allow commercial rights holders to decide amongst themselves where most value can be extracted in these areas.