King Salmon wants 'some flexibility'
NZ King Salmon could operate its proposed Marlborough Sounds farms if draft resource consent conditions were changed to require it not to breach certain environmental standards, aquaculture general manager Mark Preece said yesterday.
Mr Preece was questioned about marine farming practices during the thirteenth day of the Environmental Protection Authority's board of inquiry hearing on King Salmon's application to set up nine new farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
The hearing, in Blenheim, is set down for 10 weeks.
Board member Helen Beaumont asked Mr Preece how feasible it would be for the board to change the conditions of consent from requiring the company to rectify any breaches within 24 months, while still allowing it to breach the standards again within the next six months, to a regime where it was not allowed to breach the standards, averaged out over a period from two to five years.
"The conditions as they stand allow you to go over the ES and however high you go, as long as you come back within 24 months, six months later, you can go back over the standard. It's an ongoing cycle of going over and coming back in.
"What I would prefer to see is a condition that compliance levels are established and the farm run within that.
"As an operator, can you operate within a compliance level that will be met if you average over time," Ms Beaumont asked.
Mr Preece said his understanding was that was how the company wanted to operate with its existing farms - to understand the assimilative capability of the site and run at that, not go over and come back.
"We would need some flexibility to cope with seasonal variation."
Mr Preece said its farms were to be compliant with resource consent rules.
Sustain Our Sounds lawyer Warwick Heal and Pelorus Sound tourism operator Brian Plaisier asked Mr Preece how important improving environmental outcomes and reducing discharges to the sea were to the company.
Mr Preece said King Salmon operated its farms to be compliant with resource consent rules.
The company was trialling in-water net cleaning so it could stop using copper-based anti-fouling chemicals on the nets surrounding the outside of its farms. It had two in-water cleaning systems in place and had just spent about $500,000 to buy a third one that would be deployed in February.
- The Marlborough Express