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Consultation on proposed marine farming in Coromandel

17 December 2010

Public consultation on proposed marine farming zone in the Coromandel

An Aquaculture Ministerial Advisory Panel has been established to consult on a proposal to create a new Coromandel Marine Farming Zone.

The proposal seeks to amend the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan by removing the prohibition on new aquaculture in a 300-hectare zone in the Hauraki Gulf.

Ministry of Fisheries Aquaculture Unit Director Dan Lees says, “The proposal warrants public consultation because of its regional and national significance. There is economic potential in farming kingfish and hapuku which are both high-value aquaculture species that are not currently commercially farmed in New Zealand, but sites must be selected that would be within environmental limits and take account of effects on other users.”

The three-member Aquaculture Ministerial Advisory Panel includes Hon Sir Doug Kidd as Chair, Mark Farnsworth and Justine Inns. The panel wants to hear from the public about the potential environmental, economic, cultural, and social benefits and costs of the proposal.

Chair, Hon Sir Doug Kidd says, “Local knowledge, values and attitudes will be crucial to the assessment of this proposal. Our panel look forward to hearing from iwi, marine farmers, bach owners, boaties, environmentalists, recreational and commercial fishers and others who have an interest in this proposal.”

The public consultation will run from 17 December 2010 to 9 February 2011. As part of the consultation, the panel will spend time in the Waikato region in late January. Panel hearings in Thames, Coromandel Township and Auckland have been scheduled between 9 and 12 February 2011 to allow the public to present their submissions in person.

The panel will report its findings on the costs and benefits of the proposal to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture in late February 2011. If the Minister determines that it is sensible to advance the proposal, he will consider the options available to amend the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan. The Minister is expected to make a decision on whether and how to proceed with the proposal by May 2011.

Under the proposal, resource consent applications for farming fish such as kingfish and hapuku would be allowed to be lodged in the proposed zone. Consent applications would still need to go through the RMA and “undue adverse effects on fishing” processes.

A discussion document on the proposal is available online at www.fish.govt.nz or by emailing aquaculture@fish.govt.nz. This document provides information on the proposal including a description of the proposed new aquaculture zone, and supporting technical information.

Submissions close at 5pm on Wednesday 9 February 2011. People who would like to speak to their written submission during the panel hearings will need to let the Aquaculture Unit know by email or post by 4 February 2011. Space for the hearings may be limited.

Presentation times will be allotted on a first in, first served basis.

ENDS

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