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A sound future for marine farming industry

15 December, 2004

Government secures a sound future for marine farming industry

The $1 billion-a-year potential of New Zealand's aquaculture industry can now be realised with the passing of the Aquaculture Reform Bill, says Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope.

The Bill passed it's final reading today 83 votes to 36, with Mr Benson-Pope thanking the United Future, Greens, Progressive and New Zealand First parties in all helping bring certainty to the industry.

In November 2001 a moratorium was placed on the issuing of new consents for marine farms to allow for the creation of a new management regime. This was in response to the "gold rush" for space that had developed within the industry.

The Aquaculture Reform Bill has created a new regime under the Resource Management Act. This will enable councils to effectively manage aquaculture and encourage the aquaculture industry to develop in a sustainable way.

"While it has taken time to reach this point, I am confident we have come up with a workable solution that will take us into a future that will see the exciting potential of the marine farming industry realised," said Mr Benson-Pope. "We have acted to protect the coastline for all users. The whole purpose of the reform is to provide clarity and certainty to users, which was not there before.

"The aquaculture industry will provide to many regions of New Zealand new employment opportunities. The further growth of the industry represents an important economic driver – especially in rural coastal areas where growth and job opportunities are needed most.

"This new legislation has created a sound and well thought-out platform from which strong future development can take place."

Maori interests in commercial marine farming space has also been addressed by providing iwi, where possible, 20 percent of marine farming space allocated since 1992 and 20 percent of any future new space.

"This is an important step," said Mr Benson-Pope. "Settling contemporary commercial claims removes a major impediment to progress and certainty. This is consistent with the 1992 Fisheries Settlement – aquaculture being the unfinished business of that legislation."

ENDS

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