Mixed reaction to farms

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 10:33 21/12/2012

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SITE BY SITE:

Granted 

Papatua in Port Gore, where an ability to isolate the site for biosecurity reasons if a pest or disease became a problem was said to outweigh outstanding natural character and landscape values.

Ngamahau in Tory Channel, where the farm footprint would be small, in very productive waters.

Waitata and Richmond in Pelorus Soundwere natural landscapes and navigation would not be seriously compromised.

Denied

Kaitira and Tapipi, prominently situated in the gateway to Pelorus Sound with memorable views.

Kaitapeha and Ruaomoko in Queen Charlotte Sound, concerns about effects on navigation, recreational boating, the adjacent scenic reserve, natural character and landscape and Maori traditions.

White Horse Rock, a popular recreational fishing spot in Pelorus Sound also important to Maori as a traditional fishing ground. 

The Environmental Protection Authority's board of inquiry has approved four new salmon farms for the Marlborough Sounds in a draft ruling made public yesterday.

In a hearing spanning nine weeks and closely-watched by Marlburians, the board of inquiry sat in Blenheim to consider the evidence in August, September and October this year.

It heard about 1200 submissions on NZ King Salmon's controversial proposal to set up nine new farms in areas of the Sounds where marine farming is banned under the Marlborough District Council's resource management plans.

The board's draft report on King Salmon's proposal ruled that 35-year-long resource consents for farms at Papatua, Ngamahau, Waitata and Richmond were allowed, consents for farms at Kaitapeha, Ruaomoko, Kaitira and Tapipi farms were declined, and the application for White Horse Rock farm was also declined.

The full draft can be found by clicking here, and is now open for comment till February 8 next year by King Salmon, all submitters, the Minister of Conservation, the Minister for the Environment and Marlborough District Council.

But parties can make comment on minor and technical aspects of the report only, not on the board of inquiry's decision or its reasons for that decision.

There has been dismayed reaction to the draft decision.

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Sustain Our Sounds chairman Danny Boulton said yesterday his group was "immensely disappointed" by the decision.

He said the Marlborough Sounds was a biodiversity hot-spot with many treasures among its rich and diverse wildlife.

"We've got areas that are the equivalent of Australian coral reefs that they've decided to put a farm over. The Tory Channel one is the equivalent of that."

King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said yesterday the company was disappointed with the decision, which he described as "such a missed opportunity for Marlborough, Nelson, New Zealand and the company".

"We're at a loss as why we were only granted four farms," he said.

King Salmon would be making submissions on the draft decision, particularly for White Horse Rock, he said.

Marlborough Mayor Alistair Sowman said the Marlborough District Council needed to understand why the board had gone against the long-established Marlborough position that activity in the Sounds should be clearly separated with one area for industry, another for recreation.

The council would study the report before it made any comment.

However, given a draft decision had recommended four new sites be approved, the council would work with King Salmon to progress its plans, Mr Sowman said.

The board of inquiry's final report will be made on February 22.

HOW PEOPLE RESPONDED

 

Brian Dawson, Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager: "We're disappointed for many reasons: disappointed for NZ King Salmon, disappointed for business, disappointed for the community. "

Glenice Paine, Te Atiawa representative: "We haven't had time to digest the decision, but Te Atiawa supports NZ King Salmon. It gives us something."

Carney Soderberg, Sounds resident and objector: "The whole thing should have been thrown out on its economics being completely discredited. The Government has an agenda and I think this was a political decision."

Gary Hooper, Aquaculture NZ chief executive: "We aren't in a position to comment yet. We need to work through the decision - it's only just come out and it's 360-odd pages to go through, with all the appendices as well."

Gary Taylor, Environmental Defence Society executive director: "Our technical advice was that all but one of the nine applications for these large industrial salmon farms should be declined on landscape and natural character grounds."

Martin and Clare Pinder whose holiday home overlooks the Ngamahau site: "This is just one battle in the war. They will keep chipping away until the whole of the Marlborough Sounds is given away to the aquaculture industry."

Frans van Boekhout, Ngati Koata Trust general manager: "Ngati Koata is happy that not all applications for space in Pelorus Sound were agreed to. We have not yet had time to fully study the decision . . . Ngati Koata will be closely involved in monitoring the two sites in Pelorus Sound."

Chris Godsiff, Marlborough Travel managing director: "Everybody is going to be disappointed with the outcome. Purely from a business point of view, 4 out of 9 is disappointing."

Steffan Browning, Green Party MP and objector: "This decision is a slap in the face for the integrity of the Marlborough District Council's resource management plan . . . resource planning in New Zealand is almost a joke."

 

 

- The Marlborough Express

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