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Coastal areas to be excluded from aquaculture

Coastal areas to be excluded from aquaculture - feedback invited Canterbury

Environment Canterbury is inviting discussion on coastal areas where people believe aquaculture activities (eg mussel farms) should be excluded. This is part of the council’s ongoing work on the allocation of water space for aquaculture. It follows on from recent changes to the Resource Management Act, stemming from aquaculture reform legislation.

Under the new system, aquaculture can only be established within areas specifically identified in regional coastal plans as aquaculture management areas or AMAs. Areas that have existing aquaculture operations are deemed to be aquaculture management areas under the legislation.

“Environment Canterbury has been investigating which areas could or should be excluded from aquaculture as a first step in this process,” said Cr Bob Kirk, chairman coastal portfolio committee.

A series of maps have been prepared, indicating areas along the Canterbury coast where there are existing constraints to aquaculture development. These include:

• Areas of significant natural value, identified in the current Regional Coastal Environment Plan.
• Areas of Banks Peninsula to be retained in their present natural states. These are also specified in the Regional Coastal Environment Plan and include many of the Peninsula’s bays.

• Navigation channels and port operational areas.
• Dredging spoil dumping grounds.
• Mataitai and Taiapure.
• Marine reserves.
• Council wastewater outfalls and associated mixing zones.
• Coastal water quality areas. These are areas managed to improve water quality to a particular standard. These standards include water suitable for aquatic ecosystems, contact recreation (eg swimming) and shellfish gathering. There may be areas of the coastline where water quality is not good enough to support aquaculture production, which requires relatively pristine, clean water.

• Defence force weapons range/danger areas.

A number of other constraints have also been identified. Although these may not rule out aquaculture, the presence of aquaculture would affect some of their values. They include:

• Habitat of marine mammals, eg Hector’s dolphin.
• Banks Peninsula Marine Mammal Sanctuary, home to more Hector’s dolphin than anywhere else in New Zealand.
• Operating areas of existing tourism businesses.
• Areas important to Ngai Tahu for gathering kaimoana, as outlined in a report from Ngai Tahu.
• Existing marine farms.

All of these proposed excluded areas and other potential constraints are shown on a series of maps which can be viewed on the ECan website - www.ecan.govt.nz

“Environment Canterbury is seeking feedback from anyone with an interest in the coastal environment, with discussion open until June 30,” said Cr Kirk. “We hope to have this process finalised by the end of the year.”

ECan staff are available to meet with interested people or groups. Queries on technical information or maps should go to David Gregory, senior coastal planner, 03 371 7167 or visit the website - www.ecan.govt.nz

Ends


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