Fisheries Minister welcomes new space for mussel farming
17 December 2009
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley has welcomed the Ministry of Fisheries’ announcement that 10 new marine farms have been approved, giving 3,143 hectares of new marine farming space.
A 2,695 hectare offshore farm, in Pegasus Bay in Canterbury makes up the bulk of the new space and, once established, will be New Zealand’s second largest marine farm. A 424 hectare marine farm in Clifford Bay on Marlborough’s east coast and 8 small marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds have also been approved.
“While these new farms will add to the space available for marine farming they were applied for years ago under the old aquaculture laws”, Mr Heatley said.
“Aquaculture has huge potential for generating sustainable economic growth for New Zealand and is one of the Government’s economic priorities. However, if the aquaculture industry is going to meet its target of becoming a one billion dollar a year industry by 2025, we need to get more space more quickly.”
“There has been no new marine farming space approved under the 2004 aquaculture reforms and it looks unlikely we will see any for years. That isn’t good enough and we are working hard to remove the regulatory bottle-necks and get the industry moving” he said.
Earlier this year the Government appointed the Aquaculture Technical Advisory Group to independently develop options for overhauling the aquaculture regime. The Advisory Group is made up of aquaculture and resource management experts and industry representatives and was chaired by former Fisheries Minister, Sir Doug Kidd.
The Advisory Group’s report on options for reform was released for public consultation on 5 November with submissions invited from anyone with an interest in the aquaculture sector. The consultation period ended on 16 December with a number of submissions received from a wide range of groups and individuals.
The Aquaculture Ministers (Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, Environment Minister Nick Smith and Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley) will now consider submissions and the Advisory Group’s report before putting recommendations for an Aquaculture Amendment Bill to Cabinet next year.
Wider public input on the Aquaculture Amendment Bill will be sought next year at the Select Committee stage of the Parliamentary process.