May 24, 2004



New Zealand Environmental Groups Say 35-Year Aquaculture Consents Too Long


Statements from New Zealand Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope, that mussel farmers will be given 35-year consents under the aquaculture reforms, are disturbing, say Top of The South Environmental groups.


"There is continual new information on the complexities of marine life and interaction with mussel farming," says Friends of Nelson Haven and Marlborough Environment Centre spokesperson Steffan Browning. "Some of the same marine farmers who are asking for such security of tenure are already concerned at the impacts of their own industry, and to commit public space to potentially damaging effects for such a term is worrying."


"A compromise might be first right of refusal for consent holders, should 10 yearly reviews, after considering environmental effects and community wishes, allow continuation," says Mr Browning. He added that already some Marlborough mussel farms are not expected to run past the next few years.


Marlborough Environment Centre and Friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay representatives will meet with industry ahead of select committee hearings on the aquaculture reforms to reduce issues of dissent, including consent terms, said Mr Browning.

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