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Greens ask for moratorium on new marine farms

24 October 2001

Greens ask for moratorium on new marine farms

Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street MP today called on the Government to reinstate a moratorium on applications for new marine farms.

"The previous moratorium worked well, but since it has been lifted there has been a gold-rush of bigger and bigger applications for sea space," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"I agree with the residents of East Bay on Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds that the influx of mussel farms is having a serious negative impact on the bay. Originally zoned to be free of farms, it was re-zoned 'commercial' without consultation with the residents," he said.

"There is a huge battle going on for sea space. Some applicants who have had their applications declined by the Marlborough District Council then go on to appeal to the Environment Court, while someone else applies for a consent for the same piece of water.

"It is a waste of time and energy. The backbone of the industry, 'mum and dad' mussel farmers are marginalized, Marlborough District Council is overwhelmed with applications and the industry is concerned about the viability of the boom and bust mentality of the new participants, said Mr Ewen-Street.

"The viability of individual farms is dependent on physical limits such as nutrient levels. Large farms in the middle of the bay starve the existing small coastal farms of nutrients and everyone suffers.

"The industry is viable, but it needs to expand in a controlled way. Further expansion should be ended at the first signs that limits are being reached," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Over-crowding will lead to visual, ecological and navigational hazards."


ENDS

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