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Committee fails to safeguard coastal commons

March 8, 2002 - Wellington

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE

Select committee fails to safeguard coastal commons

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society strongly criticised a Parliamentary select committee's proposed changes to the aquaculture moratorium bill as failing to protect the public interest in the coastal commons.

The Primary Production Select Committee reported back to Parliament the Resource Management (Aquaculture Moratorium) Bill today.

"The changes are a sell-out to the marine farming industry and mean the moratorium will be substantially less effective than in the Bill as introduced," Forest and Bird field officer, Eugenie Sage said.

"The select committee has put industry demands for coastal space ahead of good planning and the environment. It has paid too little attention to marine farming's potential impacts on marine food webs, dolphins and other marine mammals, boaties and other recreational users, and coastal landscapes.

"The Green Party's support for the aquaculture industry's assault on the coastal commons is particularly disappointing," Ms Sage said.

"Changing the "cut off" date so that the moratorium only applies to applications which Councils had received but not notified before 28 November 2001 means that more than a third of the current applications for sea space will be unaffected by the moratorium.

"It means Councils will have to process 110 applications for more than 14,500 ha of sea space, more than three times the area currently used for marine farming (4,725 ha). Under the Bill as introduced these applications would have been caught by the moratorium," she said.

"The select committee's proposed changes would undermine the whole point of the moratorium in providing a breathing space for regional councils to amend their coastal plans to deal with the surge of applications.

"Having to deal with so many applications for such large areas before plans are revised will burden councils and local communities. It is also likely to tie up the Environment Court with an unnecessary number of complicated appeals."

Ends

Contact: Eugenie Sage field officer - over weekend leave a message on 03 3666 317 (wk) or Barry Weeber 04 385 7374 (wk) or 025 622.7369

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