Mussel farm has consent to develop
Mussel growers Knight Somerville Partnership has been granted a 20-year consent to develop a 4.35 mussel farm at Tuhitarata Bay in Pelorus Sound.
Commissioner Richard Fowler said downscaling of the proposed farm at the start of a Marlborough District Council hearing on May 16, reduced its impacts.
The planned farm would no longer extend over a reef which could provide a habitat for marine species, said Mr Fowler in his written decision. Low water flows in the area meant it was unlikely mussels would reduce phytoplankton available to feed mussels on nearby farms. Also, very little waste would deposit beyond the farm boundaries.
Extensive marine farms in Tuhitarata Bay meant this was not an outstanding natural landscape, said Mr Fowler.
Submitters against the farm had shown photos of marine farming rubbish including ropes, floats and buoy. Mr Fowler did not consider this a major issue so long as standard council conditions applied.
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 since been in dispute with the council about how to rectify it.
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 there was not the shellfish that used to grow prolifically in the area before the farms started in the 1980s.
- The Marlborough Express