Contradiction in King Salmon statements
Marlborough District Council lawyer Stephen Quinn highlighted contradictions in New Zealand King Salmon statements when he questioned one of the company's senior managers yesterday.
Mr Quinn was questioning operations and contracts manager Mark Gillard on why the company had not revealed the sites of nine new salmon farms it wanted to develop in the Marlborough Sounds until October last year. An Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry in Blenheim is hearing NZ King Salmon's application to develop new fish farms in the Sounds.
Mr Gillard said King Salmon spent $2.5 million investigating farm sites and did not want to risk others applying first. Also, there was a risk of sites being "spiked" by mooring applications, for example.
Mr Quinn said this appeared to contradict another claim by the company. It had said if its application was successful, this would not set a precedent for other companies wanting to farm fish in an area of the Sounds which was closed for aquaculture.
"You can't have it both ways," Mr Quinn said.
A decision to give the company what it wanted "by punching eight holes into the prohibited zone" must create a precedent.
Mr Gillard said other companies watching the King Salmon application with bated breath would have been scared off by seeing what the company was going through.
Mr Quinn asked if spending on public relations ahead of the hearing was part of consultation on the application to occupy publicly owned space for 35 years.
Mr Gillard understood the campaign was a response to attacks in the media and would not say whether that money could have been spent on fuller consultation.
Mr Quinn asked why King Salmon did not suggest to a council aquaculture working group that prohibited zones be opened up for fish-farming in next generation plans.
Mr Gillard said this was because the council plan review process was too slow and unhelpful. Given the council's track record, it could be 2017 until new plans came through.
Mr Quinn asked whether King Salmon had presented councillors with a neutral submission on its application to sign.
Mr Gillard replied that King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne had met with councillors.
Board of inquiry member Helen Beaumont asked Mr Gillard why Cawthron modelled sediment buildup under salmon cages at maximum feed levels but pollution by nitrogen and phosphorus at much lower initial feed levels.
Mr Gillard said scientists had decided how the modelling was done.
Eighty-five per cent of King Salmon farms were in a coastal zone where aquaculture was allowed but half its production came from its Clay Point and Te Pangu farms in Tory Channel, in deep and high flow sites similar to those where the company wanted to develop new farms, Mr Gillard said.
- The Marlborough Express