Best salmon sites banned

Five years ago, New Zealand King Salmon told the Marlborough District Council it wanted to farm fish in an area of the Marlborough Sounds where aquaculture was prohibited, lawyer Derek Nolan said at the end of the hearing considering the company's expansion plans.

King Salmon made the request in a submission to a regional policy statement discussion document, Mr Nolan said.

The council encouraged marine farmers to work with it through the review of existing plans, but had no intention of enabling salmon farming to expand, he said.

By then, King Salmon knew from experience that salmon needed cool, deep and fast-flowing water, and had identified problems with shallow, slow-flow sites, he said.

The best sites for salmon were in areas where aquaculture was prohibited, but this was not understood when the council drew up its zones.

The Environmental Protection Authority hearing provided the opportunity to apply for a private plan change and resource consents to farm salmon in these zones at the same time, Mr Nolan said.

The alternative of waiting for new council plans, going to the Environment Court for a plan change, then applying for resource consents, could take until 2019 or longer.

"More delays, more litigation. Is that any way to treat a valued Marlborough business?" he asked.

The Marlborough Express