Farms will 'scar' Sounds

03:00, Oct 09 2012
Peter Beech
Peter Beech, Guardians of the Sounds

King Salmon's fish farms create more pollution than the environment can handle and proposed sites in Tory Channel will pose a navigational risk to boats, Guardians of the Sounds chairman Peter Beech says.

Mr Beech opposed King Salmon's application to build nine new fish farms at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing at Waikawa Marae on Thursday and Friday.

Representing Marlborough Sounds conservation advocacy group Guardians of the Sounds, Mr Beech said the farms would permanently scar the environment with "five to 9000 litres of anti-foul [paint] containing zinc and copper per farm per annum".

"Every time I see mussel or fish farms and think of the pollution and adverse effects I feel a sense of profound sadness for a paradise lost."

The industry needed to use closed-containment farming to control the feeding, waterflow and pollution of the farms.

The Tory Channel sites were a prime example of uncontrolled pollution, the original depositional footprint was 150 metres, and the company was now applying for 900 metres, but faeces and toxins had been found up to kilometres away because of the high water flow, he said.

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Mr Beech said all existing farms exceeded enrichment stage (ES) level 5. Level one being pristine, level seven being completely dead.

Proposed sites at Kaitapeha, Ruaomoko and Ngamahau were a risk to safe navigation in the channel for private boat owners and ferries. The farms could also leave debris in the water and could come adrift from their moorings creating a floating minefield.

"They cannot guarantee these huge structures will not come adrift and it is irresponsible to place them in a narrow [high volume shipping] channel."

The application went against the Treaty of Waitangi, the United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous people and the Takutai Moana Act because the Government was attempting to claim ownership of part of the seabed to let King Salmon use it exclusively.

He believed the proposed 35-year leases were too long and could easily be renewed provided King Salmon complied with regulations.

Guardians of the Sounds' long-term goal was for a Marlborough Sounds Integrated Management Structure made up of various stakeholders to govern the area and for the boundaries of Coastal Marine Zone 1 to be a prohibited zone.

The Marlborough Express