Salmon appeals likely

The Environmental Defence Society plans to appeal against the Environmental Protection Authority decision to allow New Zealand King Salmon to build more fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) invited King Salmon, the Marlborough District Council, the Ministries for the Environment and Conservation and submitters to comment on minor or technical aspects of the draft decision report released on December 20, by 5pm today.

Its board of inquiry is due to release its final decision on February 22.

Environmental Defence Society (EDS) chairman Gary Taylor said the organisation would not submit comments on the draft decision to allow four of the nine farms applied for. However, it was likely to appeal against the final decision to the High Court.

"Our submission was successful in getting a number of farms knocked out, but there are one or two that we think should have been refused on landscape and natural character grounds," Mr Taylor said.

The draft decision contained potential errors of law, he said.

King Salmon aquaculture manager Mark Preece said the company might also appeal against the final decision, depending on what fell out of comments on the draft decision and lawyers' advice once the final version was released. King Salmon staff, lawyers and some experts who gave evidence during the hearing were working on the detail of comments, he said.

Marlborough District Council environmental policy manager Pere Hawes said the council would decide whether to appeal, once the final decision was released.

Council comments on the draft decision would be limited to ensuring conditions were clear and unambiguous so compliance could be monitored and enforced, he said.

Its feedback did not address the adequacy of conditions to mitigate effects.

Sustain Our Sounds chairman Danny Boulton said lawyer Warwick Heal would amalgamate comments from the organisation's scientific adviser, Rob Schuckard, and committee members by today's deadline.

The protest group was "looking at options" and would announce whether or not it would appeal after the final decision was released.

Pelorus Boating Club commodore Michael Connolly said the organisation would not submit comments on the decision but relied on other groups with similar concerns.

Marlborough Express attempts to contact the Conservation Minister Amy Adams and Environment Minister Nick Smith and their spokespeople were unsuccessful. Peter Beech of Guardians of the Sounds was also not available.

The Marlborough Express