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Marine Farm Moratorium Important

Marine Farm Moratorium Important For Environmental Health Of Auckland Harbours

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society fears that attempts to establish exemptions to the moratorium on new aquaculture development will reopen the threat of aquaculture dominating Auckland's harbours.

Forest and Bird's Northern Field Officer, Sarah Gibbs, says the moves by some marine farmers to gain exemption from the moratorium are environmentally irresponsible and could re-open the gold rush for marine space in the Auckland region.

"Auckland is epitomized by its harbours. They are important ecologically, recreationally and economically. We need to ensure that they are managed sustainably. The two year moratorium on aquaculture can help ensure this happens," says Ms Gibbs.

Forest and Bird supports Environment Minister, Marion Hobbs' decision not to exempt some marine farmers from the moratorium.

"The moratorium provides regional councils with much needed breathing space to ensure that aquaculture development is properly planned. The long term health and sound management of our coastal waters is more important than short term financial gains from the current high level of interest and speculation in marine farming," she says

"Having the moratorium apply to all applications is the most equitable solution," she says.

Ms Gibbs says that requiring regional councils to hear all resource applications lodged prior to 28 November, when the moratorium was announced, would create huge problems for Auckland due to the number and size of applications in the region.

"Marine farm applications totalling around 6,000 hectares were lodged for the Firth of Thames alone prior to 28 November. This is almost twice the area of marine farms currently established in the whole of New Zealand. A number of applications have also been lodged for waters around Great Barrier and in the Kaipara Harbour," says Ms Gibbs.

Ends

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