Further Marlborough Sounds mussel farm allowed

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 14:46 18/06/2014

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A further mussel farm will be built at Beatrix Bay in Pelorus Sound after an appeal against its development was dismissed by the Environment Court.

A consent for the 4.35-hectare marine farm was granted to mussel growers Knight Somerville Partnership, in May 2012 by commissioner Richard Fowler, who was appointed by the Marlborough District Council.

Friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay Inc made an appeal against the consent on the basis that it was contrary to the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan, in that it was outside the 200-metre "inshore ring", deemed appropriate for marine farming. They also argued that the development of another marine farm in the area would have adverse effects on the surrounding seabed and coastal marine area.

The proposed site for the farm was off the blunt point between Tuhitarata Bay and Laverique Bay in the southeastern quarter of Beatrix Bay, starting 200m offshore and stretching 400m out into the bay.

The court decision, written by Judge Jon Jackson and commissioners J R Mills and I Buchanan, stated that while it was accepted that the area had high natural character, anticipated adverse effects of the marine farm on the ecological and landscape components of the area would be no more than minor.

"In a broad sense the Sounds Plan enables use and development of the coastal marine area to be considered where it does not conflict with existing levels of natural character, landscape values and public access . . . We are satisfied on the expert evidence presented for the applicant that the proposal falls well within the scope of these criteria," the decision said.

Knight Somerville Partnership also made an appeal against some of the terms of the council decision, including extending the life of the permit from 10 years to 20 years, which was allowed. kat.duggan@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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