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Protection Of Jackson Bay From Marine Farms

October 29, 2001 - Wellington

Protection Of Jackson Bay From Marine Farms Welcomed

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society welcomes the West Coast Regional Council's decision to decline resource consents to four marine farms in South Westland's Jackson Bay.

"Thousands of marine farming buoys and lights covering 115 ha of Jackson Bay would compromise the integrity of this wild and beautiful place," Forest and Bird Field Officer, Eugenie Sage said.

"Jackson Bay is part of the internationally recognised South West New Zealand/ Te Wahi Pounamu World Heritage Area. South Westland is one of the few places in New Zealand where tall forest still meets the sea, and where from the main road you can enjoy dramatic views of a wild coastline with a mountain backdrop virtually as nature made it."

"The Commissioners' decision that the mussels farms would be "a dominant and discordant influence" in an outstanding natural landscape is a sound one. It reflects the evidence of submitters who know and enjoy Jackson Bay and professional landscape architects."

"The decision also recognised the vulnerability of Haast's small Hector's dolphin population and the need for a precautionary approach to prevent any further decline in this threatened species, and the potential impacts of marine farming on Jackson Bay's distinctive underwater habitats."

"Forest and Bird hopes that Sealord Shellfish Ltd and other shareholders in the applications will now realise the major effects marine farming would have on the spectacular natural values and landscapes of Jackson Bay, and not subject the Council and the community to the costs of defending an appeal."

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"Jackson Bay as the only natural harbour and sheltered bay on the West Coast. It provides a unique "end of the road" experience to visitors."

"The area's natural heritage is central to Haast's attractiveness to visitors and economic development based on nature tourism. Marine farming would have compromised this, as shown by submissions and evidence from local tourism operators who run trips to view Hector's dolphin and Fiordland crested penguin," she said.

Forest and Bird gave evidence to the Council hearing seeking to protect Jackson Bay from marine farming as did the Department of Conservation, local tourism operators, residents, and bach holders.

Ms Sage said Sealord Shellfish stood to get access to substantial areas of sea space in Golden Bay and Tasman Bay with the Environment Court's decision to establish large aquaculture zones in each bay. The company is also involved in applications for nearly 9,000 ha of space off the Bay of Plenty coast.

ENDS...

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