Ban on marine farming must remain'
The Coastal Marine Zone 1, banning marine farming from parts of the Marlborough Sounds, was "a special part" of the Marlborough District Council's resource management plan for the region and must remain, council environment committee chairman Peter Jerram said yesterday.
Mr Jerram told the Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry hearing in Blenheim his view was that the Marlborough Sounds were priceless.
However, that did not mean the Marlborough District Council management plans would continue to bar marine farming from parts of the Sounds forever, he said.
The Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry yesterday continued its hearing in Blenheim of an application by New Zealand King Salmon to set up nine new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, eight of which would be in an area of the Sounds where the council has prohibited marine farming.
Mr Jerram agreed with board member Mark Farnsworth that council planning documents were dynamic.
However, when Mr Farnsworth asked how that fitted with Mr Jerram's view that the prohibited zone "should be set in concrete", Mr Jerram said it was his personal view that the prohibited zone should stay that way, but that was not to say the plan would stay that way.
"The council is very much in favour of aquaculture industry. We have no objection to fin fish farming with appropriate conditions. What we are saying is that the prohibited zone is a special part of that plan and must remain.
"My personal view is that the Marlborough Sounds is priceless. It would be extremely hard to find economic value out of anything to match the value of it at the moment in the state as natural as it is. I believe that would be the council view as well."
There had been a huge shift in people's understanding, of the Marlborough Sounds and their importance to Marlborough, Mr Jerram said. They were referred to as the "jewel in the crown".
Mr Jerram conceded under questioning from King Salmon lawyer Derek Nolan that he had made mistakes in letters to the editor published in the Marlborough Express. Mr Nolan asked a series of questions that seemed designed to show Mr Jerram had a fixed view against salmon farms.
Mr Nolan said it was "hyperbole" to say that if the application was approved, the "prohibited zone would be full of farms", as Mr Jerram had said in a letter to the editor.
Mr Jerram replied that he was a politician: he was allowed a little bit of hyperbole.
The room, packed with Marlborough District Council councillors and regulatory department staff in one of the busiest days since the hearing started, found that amusing.
- The Marlborough Express
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