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Discussion Paper Initiates Aquaculture Review

The Government is keen to improve the legal framework for managing aquaculture and has released a discussion paper, "Aquaculture, Join the Discussion".

The Minister of Fisheries, Pete Hodgson and the Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs today urged people to participate in the review process.

"The current law does not provide a clear framework and its shortcomings are creating difficulties in managing aquaculture,” the ministers said. "It is important for both the environment and marine farming that the process for approving marine farms is effective.

"Without clear law and effective processes there is the risk of a speculative rush for space, causing higher process costs and poor environmental results. If too much sea is allocated to marine farming there will be encroachment on environmentally valuable areas. Marine farming also suffers if approvals exceed carrying capacity."

Mr Hodgson said aquaculture was an important industry worth about $200 million a year.

"There is immense potential for growth in aquaculture," he said. "We must ensure we have a legislative framework that can support sustainable development of this valuable industry without undermining the rights of others."

Ms Hobbs said good environmental planning required decisions to be made taking account of all environmental aspects, but the present separation of responsibilities between various Acts relating to marine farming made this difficult.

The review will cover the marine farming provisions of the Fisheries Act and the Resource Management Act as well as the old Marine Farming Act.

"The review is likely to make the provisions of the Resource Management (Heritage and Marine Farming) Amendment Bill outdated, so the Government intends to re-examine the need for this Bill," Ms Hobbs said. "This will be done once the public response to the discussion paper has been analysed late this year or early next year.

"I am determined that the legal framework for managing fisheries and the environment works to ensure that the environment is considered and managed properly. If this framework is right, its implementation by local authorities and government agencies will produce the right environmental results."

Ends

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