Farm not welcome: neighbour

New Zealand King Salmon's plans to build a fish-farm off Ngamahau Bay in Tory Channel is bad news for nearby landowners, says Quentin Wilson, who owns a property on Arapawa Island.

The Wilson family owns land on the eastern side of Deep Bay between an existing King Salmon farm at Clay Point and its proposed Ngamahau farm. They bought the land with confidence marine farming was prohibited in the area, Mr Wilson said.

King Salmon reached a confidential settlement with the Gledhills of Ngamahau Bay in return for the family withdrawing their objection to the farm, he said. However, other people in the area could also lose uninterrupted views and suffer from noise and smells, if the fish farm was built.

The Marlborough District Council described the Gledhill building which was valued at $40,000 as "probably uninhabitable", Mr Wilson said. A site where his family intended to build a second home was worth about $220,000.

King Salmon should not be allowed to harm the Tory Channel environment to make money, Mr Wilson said.

Deep Bay was poorly flushed and tides could wash salmon farming waste onto the shore, he said. The same day a King Salmon expert said it was safe to release grey-water from the farm into the sea, the Marlborough Express reported the council was forcing Sounds landowners to treat this waste.

"‘Will it still be safe to get paua out there?"

Mr Wilson was concerned for the future of rare paper nautilus shells which washed up on the beach at Deep Bay every two years.

Contrary to King Salmon evidence, Tory Channel was more popular than Queen Charlotte Sound with boaties because it was very sheltered, Mr Wilson said. Yet extreme storms blew up every five or so years and could endanger fish farms which King Salmon experts said could not survive open sea conditions.

An Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry will decide whether King Salmon can build nine new farms in the Marlborough Sounds and if so what conditions are needed. Board commissioner Edward Ellison asked where cockles could be found at Deep Bay, but Mr Wilson was reluctant to say. "He's actually staying the weekend," quipped Judge Gordon Whiting who heads the board.

Mr Wilson said his reluctance was due to a fisherman dredging a bed of scallops after he revealed its location at the hearing of a forestry company application to build a landing in Deep Bay.

The Marlborough Express