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Farm worried by expansion

Last updated 05:00 18/12/2012

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A neighbouring salmon farm owner is concerned about the proximity of Mount Cook Alpine Salmon's expansion.

Mount Cook Alpine Salmon general manager Janine Tulloch said it would build at least two rafts for its new farm in Lake Ruataniwha, near Ohau C, in the coming weeks, with work expected to be completed in May.

The company already has two farms on the hydro canals, and produces about 1000 tonnes of salmon per year.

"We received resource consents for the activity more than a decade ago, but it's only recently we've had sufficient capital to go ahead with the operation," she said.

"It will be the smallest of three farms, but will produce up to 200 tonnes per year at full capacity."

However, High Country Salmon co-founder Margaret Logan, whose operation is based near the Wairepo arm, was worried Mount Cook Alpine Salmon's new rafts could be located only 100 metres upstream from them.

"The concern is about the downstream effects, which we won't be able to control ourselves. I understand Mount Cook Alpine Salmon have the consents for the activity, but aquaculture has changed a lot in the past decade," she said.

"In other countries, rival farms would not be allowed to be so close to one another."

High Country Salmon farms about 80 tonnes per year, but has capacity for nearly 200 tonnes per year.

However, Ms Tulloch said there should be plenty of room for all of the operations to work together.

"There are three salmon farms in the Mackenzie who farm at or near the hydro system, and all have different markets," she said.

"When you compare our operations to even King Salmon in Marlborough which farms up to 7000 tonnes per year, we're well below that."

Ms Tulloch said a major review of its practices resulted in it becoming the first Australasian salmon farm to receive the Best Aquaculture Practice certification for sustainable farming from the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

"This is the cleanest salmon you will find anywhere," she said.

Ms Tulloch said the new rafts would also help it shift stock, as it prepares for Genesis' shutdown of the Tekapo canals for repair work over the summer.

Meanwhile, it hoped to start building its new processing plant in Washdyke next month, which could employ about 75 people.

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- The Timaru Herald

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