Salmon farm gets go-ahead

Christchurch-based firm United Fisheries has been granted a resource consent to farm salmon at its mussel farm at Port Ligar, in Pelorus Sound.

The application, by subsidiary KPF Investments, is the first of several by marine farmers to add salmon to mussel farms.

An application by Ngai Tahu to add salmon to its Beatrix Bay mussel farm will be heard by Marlborough District Council on Thursday.

Councillors David Dew, David Oddie, and Graeme Barsanti heard submissions in March and, in a decision just made public, approved the KPF Investments' application in part.

The application was consistent with the aims of the council's Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan but, to meet environmental concerns, a marine survey of the area would be required before salmon were introduced. A limit on the amount of feed - 1500 tonnes a year - was imposed and the consent was for nine years rather than the 12 asked for.

United Fisheries Havelock manager Bob Nicolle said he had not had time to analyse the council's decision and was unable to say whether the conditions would affect the company's plans for the site. Consent on the 12-hectare mussel farm runs to December 2024.

The council decision says Port Ligar has an established aquaculture industry around most of the coastline of the port, comprising a total of 20 marine farms, with consent for the earliest being granted in 1981.

"In considering the size of existing consents granted for aquaculture, a total of 104ha of coastal marine area [18 per cent of total water space in Port Ligar] has been allocated."

Opponents feared the application would set a precedent but the committee disagreed.

The Press