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Aquaculture: Councils Keen To Work With Govt

Regional councils keen to work with Government to develop robust aquaculture regime

Regional councils share common objectives with the Government in attempting to resolve issues associated with aquaculture management, says Local Government New Zealand Chief Executive Eugene Bowen.

“Like the Government, regional councils want to facilitate sustainable development with an eye to economic and social growth and environmental quality. However, they believe that the regime currently proposed by Government is not robust enough and more work is needed before it can be effectively implemented.”

Regional councils have prepared a report addressed to the Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment, Barry Carbon, and copied to the Minister of Fisheries, Hon Pete Hodgson.

The report follows from a meeting held with the Minister in October at which concerns were expressed about the workability of the proposed regime.

“Councils were concerned about the limited management tools provided in the framework, the challenges associated with the supply by the Ministry of Fisheries of accurate information on recreational, commercial, customary fisheries and the sustainability of fisheries generally.

“They were also concerned about the accountability and liability of regional councils when relying on this information to make decisions about the location of aquaculture management areas and the role of the Minister of Conservation in decision making. Finally, they raised the issue of the multiple opportunities for challenge provided for in the regime and the risk this poses to orderly and timely development of aquaculture initiatives.

“Under the proposed legislation, regional councils will play a vital role in defining areas where future marine farming projects will be located so they have a strong interest in ensuring the proposed regime is workable.”

Mr Bowen said that regional councils are looking forward to working closely with Government officials over the extended period of the moratorium to help develop a robust and sustainable regime for managing aquaculture. The first of these meetings will take place in the New Year.

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