Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy is seeking public comment on a proposal to relocate up to six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds to locations with better environmental and economic outcomes.
“This proposal is about making better use of existing aquaculture space. There is no proposed increase in the total surface structure area used for salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds,” says Mr Guy.
“Last year a working group of community, iwi, officials, and industry representatives was established to look at options for salmon farming under new environmental guidelines.
“The working group considered nine potential sites for relocation of the farms, and the Government has decided to progress six of these for public consultation.
“The proposed sites are further from residential properties, and are positioned in areas with stronger water currents, which would reduce the environmental effects on the seabed,” says Mr Guy.
Five of the six proposed relocation sites put forward for consideration are in Pelorus Sound and one is in Tory Channel. The Marlborough District Council has been involved in developing the proposal.
An independent panel of three resource management experts will review expert research reports, analyse all written comments and hold public hearings during April 2017.
The panel will be chaired by former Environment Court judge Professor Peter Skelton, and also includes Ron Crosby and Alan Dormer, all highly experienced resource management experts.
“The independent advisory panel has the appropriate expertise and experience to evaluate the detailed technical information, as well as all the comments received, and provide me a report and recommendations to consider,” says Mr Guy.
“I expect that people will hold a variety of views about how best to achieve long-term sustainability of salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds, and I am interested in all feedback we receive on the relocation proposal,” says Mr Guy.
The six farms proposed to be relocated are operated by New Zealand King Salmon.
“Moving these farms would allow the company to implement the environmental guidelines it has agreed with the Government, the Marlborough District Council, scientists and the community,” says Mr Guy.
Consultation on the relocation proposal starts today and will close on Monday, 27 March. Following consultation and hearings process, the independent panel will prepare advice for the Minister to consider later in the year. Government agencies will also provide advice to the Minister.
If relocation proceeds, the Minister for Primary Industries would make regulations under section 360A of the Resource Management Act 1991 to change the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan to enable relocation.
The consultation document, and further information including the timings of drop-in sessions and public hearings can be found at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/news-and-resources/consultations/marlborough-salmon-relocation/