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Mussel Farm approved for Clifford Bay

Hon Mahara Okeroa
Associate Minister of Conservation

15 November 2005 Media Statement

Mussel Farm approved for Clifford Bay

The Minister of Conservation has approved an application for a mussel farm at Clifford Bay, south of Blenheim, Associate Minister of Conservation Mahara Okeroa announced today.

But the approval is conditional on the outcome of a baseline survey to establish whether the site of the farm is of significance to a sub-population of Hector’s dolphins resident in the bay.

Mr Carter's decision follows an application by Clifford Bay Marine Farms Ltd to site two mussel farms in Clifford Bay, totalling over 1300 hectares, and another further south at Cape Campbell.

The Marlborough District Council recommended that consent for the proposed farm at Cape Campbell be declined, and consent for the proposed farm in Clifford Bay be approved, but for a significantly reduced area. The matter then proceeded to an Environment Court inquiry, and the Court also recommended approval of the Clifford Bay farm, subject to conditions.

“In approving the application to site a marine farm at Clifford Bay, the Conservation Minister has accepted the Environment Court’s view that there is a low risk of the farm causing harm to Hector’s dolphins in the area,” Mr Okeroa said.

"Once constructed, the marine farm, spanning 424 hectares, will occupy less than 3 per cent of the area where the dolphins mostly live.

"However, the Minister has also agreed with the Environment Court that as an additional precaution the developers must commission and pay for a baseline survey prior to building their farm to ensure the area proposed for it is not a breeding ground, nursery or a zone of real importance for the dolphins," Mr Okeroa said.

A formal decision by the Minister of Conservation is a statutory requirement because the proposed development exceeds 50 hectares, making it a Restricted Coastal Activity, as defined in the Resource Management Act 1991.


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