NZ King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne is not impressed with the four salmon farm consents provisionally granted by the Environmental Protection Authority's board of inquiry in the decision made public yesterday.
The board approved four of nine salmon farms the company applied for, but Mr Rosewarne said it was disappointed with the decision, which he described as "such a missed opportunity for Marlborough, Nelson, New Zealand and the company".
He said the company believed it had demonstrated salmon farming in New Zealand was the most sustainable way of producing protein on the planet. "We can create a high-value, highly nutritious product sought after around the world that earns good export income.
"We're at a loss as to why we were only granted four farms."
The draft decision imposed new conditions on the company, he said, that required at least a minimum of a year's background environmental monitoring, and in some cases, two years.
"That's a new condition, it puts things back . . . It will probably be well and truly 2015 before we get any fish out.
"If everything went extremely well, we might have our first farm in March 2014."
Mr Rosewarne said there was a great demand for King Salmon's product internationally, which would not be able to be met now that only half the farms applied for were approved.
"People might think we put in for more than we required, but actually we put in enough to get the right scale, sustainability balance, and the level needed to supply.
"That came to nine farms and that's why we applied for nine.
"It's a great opportunity lost."
He hoped the final decision would change to enable the company to farm salmon at White Horse Rock, which he said was already permitted as a mussel farm.
" We don't understand the decision. We thought that was the first one we would have approved. The council has already approved a salmon farm on the site."
King Salmon had already bought the White Horse Rock site, (in a zone that allows marine farming), so the company was "extremely surprised" it was "not even in the mix" he said.
"We've bought the site, in the aquaculture zone, right next to another granted farm. We certainly need to look into that."
- The Marlborough Express