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Softly, softly call on marine farm backlog

Softly, softly call on marine farm backlog

The Fisheries Ministry must not rush through the huge backlog of marine farm permit applications without proper consideration, Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

The Green MP was responding to a call from National Party MP Dr Lynda Scott this morning on National Radio for the ministry to clear the backlog quickly.

Mr Ian Ewen-Street said this would amount to rubber-stamping.

The consideration of marine farm permit applications was far from simple, he said, as it involved a delicate balancing of the interests of farmers, recreational users of the sea, sustainability of the nutrient supply and the environment.

"If you simply allow marine farms to expand to fill the available water space, you get to the point where you overstep the nutrient supply available to the seafood you are farming," Mr Ewen-Street said. "There are indications we are getting fairly close to the limit now."

The Fisheries Ministry has applied for $600,000 to employ seven analysts dedicated to clearing the backlog of about 180 marine farm applications. The majority relate to Marlborough, where both Mr Ewen-Street and Dr Scott are based.

"Extra funding to consider marine farming applications is okay, as long as they are addressed properly. The process cannot be rushed through," Mr Ewen-Street said.

"The sea is public open space. It is not privately owned with people able to deal with as they will. Enclosure of the commons for private profit must have limits," he said.

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