Ministry of Fisheries makes preliminary decisions on marine farm permit applications in Golden / Tasman Bays
15 November 2005
From the Ministry of Fisheries
The Ministry of Fisheries has made preliminary 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,” says Ministry of Fisheries’ aquaculture manager Dan Lees.
He says all three farms had significant effects on commercial fishing, so that no decision was straightforward.
The Ministry has made a preliminary decision to decline a permit application for a 770 ha mussel farm west of D’Urville Island. The farm would lie over productive fishing grounds important to the inshore trawl fishery. Mr Lees is not satisfied the proposed farm would not have an ‘undue’ adverse effect on this fishery.
The other two preliminary decisions would grant applications to expand existing mussel spat catching sites in Tasman Bay (from 200 ha to 540 ha) and in Golden Bay (from 200 ha to 660 ha). These are located over important scallop fishing grounds. However, Mr Lees is satisfied that, based on current information, the adverse effects on the scallop fishery would not be ‘undue’.
The applicants and affected parties now have the opportunity to provide additional information before the Ministry’s final decisions are made. The preliminary decisions may change if additional information shows the impacts on commercial fishing are more or less than currently expected.
“We like to run an open process,” says Mr Lees. “Now that I have made these preliminary decisions, parties get to see what I am thinking and what information I have taken into account. They can then provide additional information they wish me to consider.
“Any additional information provided will be carefully considered before final decisions to grant or decline these applications are made.”
Final decisions will likely be made early next year.
For more information contact:
Communications Manager, Ministry of Fisheries
Ph 04 819 4218 or 021 388 659
While the new aquaculture laws came into effect in January 2005, there are still a number of permit applications that have to be completed 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.
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).
[NB - Under the new aquaculture law the Ministry only considers the effect on fishing, and does this as part of the council planning process.]
Under the old law, the Ministry’s permitting process happens in two stages. The Ministry initially makes a preliminary decision. This is based on information the applicant has provided, information the Ministry holds itself, and from consultation with commercial, recreational, and customary fishers, and other affected parties.
The Ministry distributes the preliminary decision to the applicant and other affected parties. These people then have another opportunity to provide further information. The Ministry considers this extra information, and then makes a final decision to either approve or decline the application.
Fact sheets on the new aquaculture laws are available on the following website www.mfe.govt.nz