F&B joins fight to stop new Marlborough

14 Jun 2012

The people of Marlborough are keeping a watchful eye on New Zealand King Salmon’s bid to establish nine new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds, and Forest & Bird is right alongside.

The Society was among the two-thirds of submissions, from the estimated 1266, that opposed King Salmon’s proposal.

Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin says Forest & Bird’s submission focussed on the adverse environmental effects from the proposed farms.

As well as nine resource consents, King Salmon’s application also seeks two changes to the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan in order to develop marine farms in prohibited zones.

Debs says this move makes a mockery of rules put in place by the Marlborough District Council.

“The Council’s Resource Management Plan was developed after years of community consultation. It would be a travesty to undermine those years of negotiations and hard fought wins in the Environment Court.”

She says a number of the designated sites are within or adjoining areas identifi ed by the Plan as being of ecological importance.

“There’s been a long-standing prohibition on marine farming in these areas because of ecological and landscape sensitivity. It’s terrible that we have to defend these areas from such intrusive marine farming proposals. Alongside large factory-fed cages, most of the proposed farms would include a two-storey structure floating in the water.”

Adverse effects on marine fauna could result from increased contamination, nutrient loading and disturbance. King Salmon’s application is the firstcase for New Zealand’s coastal area to be overseen by the Environmental Protection Authority and would set a legal precedent if consents are granted.

An EPA-appointed board of inquiry will hear King Salmon’s application from August 13 to September 14, with a decision announced by the end of December.

Forest & Bird is a supporting member of Sustain Our Sounds. More information can be found at www.sustainoursounds.org.nz