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New King Salmon farm will be watched closely

14 February 2008

New King Salmon farm will be watched closely

Green Party MP Metiria Turei has expressed strong concerns over the opening of a new King Salmon Company Salmon Farm which was attended by the Prime Minister today.

The King Salmon Company are known for their genetic experiments eight years ago which resulted in modified fish eggs possibly having been released into the wild due to mesh size being larger than the size of the smallest eggs, and the growth of mutant salmon.

"Although King Salmon have said that they will not continue with their GE programme, they need to answer questions around their continued storage of GE material," Mrs Turei says.

"The Green Party welcomes King Salmon Company's assurances that they are focussed on reducing their impact on the environment, but we encourage the Prime Minister to ask some hard questions about how exactly they intend to achieve this.

"Apart from King Salmon's historically casual attitude to safe environmental practices, there are other problems that are associated with intensive fish farms.

"Both international experience and reports from locals indicate the seabed beneath salmon farms becomes heavily polluted with anaerobic material - basically huge quantities of fish poo - and several of the farms have become unworkable for this reason. Clearly this pollution will also affect surrounding sea life.

"These farms also represent a very poor economy in terms of protein conversion. Often farmed salmon are fed with wild fish which are too small for human consumption but which are commercially viable when processed into salmon feed.

"Trawling for Pilchard in the sounds, which are used to feed the salmon, limits the food available to dusky dolphins. Harvesting these fish creates new pressures on marine systems, even as other fish stocks, such as orange roughy, blue cod and oreo, reach collapsing point through overfishing.

"Animal welfare is another concern. These farms are known for their high stocking rates, which lead to fish stress and abrasion as they continually compete for space.

"However, as this farm has been developed in partnership with local iwi, the hope is that will lead to greater interest in protecting the local environment and stronger consideration of the principle of kaitiakitanga than King Salmon have previously shown."


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