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Big Changes Needed To Marine Farming Proposals


MEDIA RELEASE
20 December 2001

Big Changes Needed To Marine Farming Proposals

A proposed moratorium on marine farming undermines Maori progress in aquaculture, and affects very few others, the Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Te Ohu Kai Moana) said today.

Te Ohu Kai Moana has now spent some time analysing the effect of the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Amendment Bill on Maori marine farming proposals and the Treaty Claims Fisheries Settlement.

Te Ohu Kai Moana is seeking to have the date of the moratorium moved to enable applications that were notified as at 28 November 2001 to be excluded from the moratorium. Current estimates are that around 90 percent of notified applications that are affected by the moratorium involve Maori interests – either through joint ventures or solely Iwi initiatives.

Commissioner Maui Solomon said Fisheries Commissioners this week discussed the moratorium and were united in their response.

“Many Iwi have put considerable time, energy, money and resources in advancing their applications for water space, including providing councils with ecological information, environmental assessments and a myriad of other requirements. Iwi have deep concerns that all their work and cost will be ignored without the Government assessing the merits of their proposals.”

Mr Solomon added: “There are a number of marine farming applications underway, but it’s not a gold rush. Aquaculture is progressive and the new wave in sustainable fishing.”

“The Government must make a number of substantive changes to this Bill before it can say it has the support of the Maori fishing community, because currently it has no support from Maori on this.”

In the last two weeks, Maori Fisheries Commissioners have been travelling the country, visiting Iwi, informing Maori of new fisheries allocation proposals. Mr Solomon said that the proposed moratorium was very much on everyone’s minds.

“This Bill does not protect Maori interests. If anything, it undermines Maori progress and stops developments that would not only provide jobs and income for Maori people, but also help boost languishing regional economies,” Mr Solomon said.

Mr Solomon said that most proposed marine farms affected by the moratorium are in areas that need regional development. “The majority of Maori marine farm applications are in areas where there is high unemployment, such as the Far North and the East Coast,” he said.

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Te Ohu Kai Moana believes it is imperative the Select Committee considers the proposed moratorium in the context of broader Government initiatives.

“The Government needs to listen to the concerns of Maori in this instance, given that almost all notified water space applications affected by the moratorium involve Maori interests. We expect to see a select committee process that fairly weighs up all the issues – Maori will not accept the committee merely rubber stamping Government proposals,” Mr Solomon said.

“Currently, it is Maori who are at the forefront of aquaculture developments. We don’t want it to be another example of the Crown not listening to Maori and changing the rules just as we are forging a new path and getting ahead,” Mr Solomon said.

ENDS

For more information, contact Te Ohu Kai Moana Communications
Glenn Hema Inwood, 021 498 010

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