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Mussel Industry Treated Like 'Nuke Waste'

6 October, 2004

Mussel Industry Treated Like 'Nuke Waste'

'The Aquaculture Reform Bill is effectively puts mussel farming in the same category as dumping radioactive waste and bans on nuclear ships' says New Zealand Mussel Industry Council Executive Officer, Rebecca Clarkson.

'The Bill creates an underlying prohibition on mussel farming outside of restricted aquaculture areas that will be virtually set in concrete in regional coastal plans. The only other activity exposed to such wide scale restriction around New Zealand's coastal area is the storage and dumping of radioactive waste'.

'The industry is offended at the implication that mussel farming and dumping of radioactive waste share any similarities in the way they are dealt with under the proposed reforms. Particularly when New Zealand Greenshell mussels have just been ranked the top "eco-friendly" seafood in the world by US conservation agency Blue Ocean Institute's Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood' she said.

'Worldwide, the New Zealand mussel industry is recognised for achieving high standards of environmental sustainability and responsibility, yet the Bill completely removes any "level playing field" with other coastal activities and imposes huge barriers and transaction costs on the industry.

'The process of creating AMAs is unworkable. In effect new development is squarely placed in the "prohibited" box along with radioactive waste and nuclear ships. It could take up to 10 years to make the coastal plan changes needed to create new AMAs at enormous cost to the industry. Even then there will be no guarantee of success even after a long and arduous process.'

'The Bill discourages investment in aquaculture at a time when New Zealand could really benefit from the sustainable growth this industry has to offer'. Our issues are not about "privatising" the coastline, they are about heavy handed processes and fairness', said Ms Clarkson.

'The industry would much rather the Government extended the current moratorium for another year than pass the Bill in its current form'.

The New Zealand Mussel Industry Council Ltd has a number of additional issues with the Bill and will be issuing further releases on these in due course.


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