Mussel partnership halves size of proposed farm
Mussel growers Knight Somerville Partnership yesterday halved the size of the mussel farm they want to build on Beatrix Bay in Pelorus Sound.
They made the move at the start of a hearing on whether to grant resource consent to their application.
The hearing, before Commissioner Richard Fowler on behalf of the Marlborough District Council, heard that rather than the original 9.19 hectares, the application was now for 4.35 hectares, further away from Tuhitarata Bay, which is designated as marine farm-free.
The application is further out from the foreshore than usual because it is next to an area where Sanford have consent to build a mussel farm. However, they mistakenly built that farm further towards Tuhitarata Bay more than 10 years ago, and have been in dispute with the council about how to rectify that since then.
Council resource consents officer Bruno Brosnan said the situation was not yet resolved.
Resource planner Gary Rae, appearing for the applicants, said the proposed farm was not a precedent, because the area between the farm and the coast - while consented for by Sanford – was "most unlikely" to be used to re-establish a farm there as it had a significant reef which would stop about 70 per cent of the area being useable in practical or environmental terms.
"There will in all likelihood be an area of unoccupied sea space between the foreshore and the (proposed) farm, which would serve as a buffer to reduce any effects on the views of any future residents, or on wider aesthetic or scenic values."
Residents in nearby bays opposed the application, saying 95 per cent of Beatrix Bay was already covered by marine farms, and that had a serious impact on the diversity of sea life. Mussel farms had vacuumed up all the plankton which meant that there was not the shellfish that used to grow prolifically in the area before the farms started in the 1980s.
The Marlborough Express