Salmon plan changes outlined

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 13:08 19/10/2012

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attached to New Zealand King Salmon's application to build nine new farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

The previous day, Environmental Protection Authority board of inquiry chairman Judge Gordon Whiting said lack of detail in proposed conditions of consent for farms "sent a shiver down his spine".

Mr Gardner-Hopkins presented a "clean document" with all comments and history removed. A new condition limiting the nitrogen content of feed to 7 per cent was "not necessary but workable", he said.

Another change required King Salmon to improve performance if monitoring picked up excessive seabed enrichment (pollution) not just beneath farms but beyond.

The company would be required to remove fallow sites which were more seriously polluted if conditions had not improved within four months.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins described this as "quite a severe response" to quite a small breach.

These changes were made after feedback from Department of Conservation planner Anna Cameron, he said.

Water quality had not yet been measured at proposed sites so the first three years of monitoring would aim to meet aspirations rather than numerical standards, Mr Gardner-Hopkins said.

Board commissioner Helen Beaumont said it could be difficult to separate farm effects on water quality from other influences including climate change.

King Salmon has proposed that a peer review panel including at least two scientists advise the council on long-term monitoring plans and reports. When a fast management response was needed, the panel would advise the company.

A tangata whenua panel, including representatives of Ngati Kuia and Ngati Koata, would advise the peer review panel on concerns about Pelorus Sound sites and marine mammal and pest and disease management. Te Atiawa would be invited to collaborate on a stock take of wahi tapu (sacred sites) near Queen Charlotte Sound and Tory Channel sites.

Other recommended changes included:

Reducing the initial feed allowed at the low flow Papatua site in Port Gore from 3000 tonnes a year to 2000 tonnes

Not permitting a barge at Papatua or underwater lights

Not permitting a barge at the Tapipi farm in the Waitata Reach of Pelorus Sound if the nearby Richmond farm was developed.

If King Salmon did not take up the consent it would lapse in three years unless monitoring of sites had begun, Mr Gardner-Hopkins said.

The new version of the plan change discussed providing eight specific locations for King Salmon farms rather than providing for expansion of the salmon industry. The change was to avoid the application being seen as a springboard to future applications, he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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