New Zealand's largest offshore marine farm approved
17 October 2008
Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton and Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick said the largest marine farm in New Zealand could have the potential to provide 500 new jobs.
The ministers today announced that Eastern Seafarms Ltd has received final approval for the staged development of 3,800 hectares of marine farming space 8.5km offshore of Opotiki for mussel farming and spat catching.
"The development of this large marine farm will boost the Bay of Plenty regional economy, especially in the Opotiki area, bringing jobs and investment both in the construction of the farm and its ongoing operation," Jim Anderton said.
The Whakatohea Maori Trust Board is the majority shareholder (54%) in the farm along with Sealord Shellfish Ltd and NZ Seafarms Ltd.
"The development of this venture has the potential to bring large benefits to local Maori, both in their majority ownership and also through increased employment and career opportunities," said Steve Chadwick.
"This farm will offer excellent opportunities to undertake further research and development into offshore marine farming, which is still in its early stages in New Zealand," said Jim Anderton.
"Off shore marine farming has huge potential for the future growth of New Zealand's aquaculture industry. Recent trials have proved very promising and I am excited about the potential of this farm for offshore marine farming elsewhere," he said.
This new farm will be developed in stages over the coming years. The permits initially allow for 8 "blocks", equating to 256 longlines over 1,600 hectares to be developed.There is a requirement in the farm's resource consent for monitoring in between each stage being developed. This monitoring will check for adverse impacts on the seafloor, water column, marine mammals and fish stocks in the area.
"The staged development and ongoing monitoring will allow for sustainable aquaculture development in the Bay of Plenty while ensuring the environment isn't compromised," said Steve Chadwick.
"If any adverse effects are detected the development will cease and monitoring will continue," she said.
Eastern Seafarms Ltd lodged their application before the national aquaculture moratorium in November 2001 and the Aquaculture Reform Legislation that was introduced in 2004. As a result, it was processed under the old legislation which required consents under the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Fisheries Act 1983.