New Zealand Aquaculture, New Zealand by Peter Aranyi 01 Apr 2018
New Zealand’s new Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has released the report of the Advisory Panel which considered a proposal to move up to six N Z King Salmon marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds to more suitable ‘higher flow’ sites.
The panel took in public, industry and local government submissions and, in the end, has recommended three of the proposed six farms be allowed to relocate; declining to recommend that action for the remaining three.
In releasing the panel’s report on the Ministry of Primary Industries’proposal, Nash has indicated he’s far from ready to make a final decision – indeed, he says, “I am some months from making a final decision” – and wants to conduct another round of community consultation based on the findings of the report.
Nash emphasised the need for the government to “work closely with the Marlborough District Council around the best process”. Concerns had been raised by critics of the MPI proposal to use government regulation powers that such a move sidestepped the environmental protection processes and district plans of local authorities.
Nash also specifically highlighted the need to consult with iwi.
Reproduced below, in whole, is the Minister’s statement, followed by a statement from N Z King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne, released to Aquaculture magazine, and statement by the Environmental Defence Society which opposed the move.
From Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash: REPORT ON MARLBOROUGH SALMON FARMS A report by an independent panel into the future location of six salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds has been released by Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash.
The report was written by an independent Advisory Panel following public hearings in April-May 2017 and provided to the previous government in July 2017. Mr Nash is yet to form a view on its findings. He has released it in order to update all interested parties.
“I am making the report public to enable the people and groups who made submissions to study it while I consider
the next steps. I also want to thank the members of the Advisory Panel for their work.
“I am some months from making a final decision,” Mr Nash said. “I intend to discuss the report with a number of peopl agencies and iwi who are following this issue closely.
“In particular, I intend to work closely with the Marlborough District Council around the best process from here. I also intend to ensure the voices of all iwi in the area are heard. Further, I will allow time for the Ministry for Primary Industries to undertake scientific work around water quality and to test policy and legal advice.
“The management of aquaculture in the Marlborough Sounds is an issue where all interests are best served by the Crown working alongside local government and iwi to find the best outcome,” Mr Nash said.
The Advisory Panel considered written submissions and held hearings on a proposal to relocate up to six Marlborough Sounds salmon farms to more environmentally sustainable sites. It recommended that three salmon farms be relocated: Otanerau Bay in Queen Charlotte Sound to Tio Point in Tory Channel Waihinau Bay to Richmond Bay South both in Pelorus Sound Ruakaka Bay to Horseshoe Bay in Pelorus Sound The Panel considered relocation of the three farms would enable the New Zealand King Salmon Company to improve environmental outcomes without sacrificing jobs and economic returns. The company could implement management standards that ensure the effects of salmon farming on the seabed of these sites are effectively monitored and managed.
The report says relocation would reduce adverse effects on the seabed, lessen the visual impacts of the farm sites on the natural landscapes and features of the Sounds, and improve fish health.The Pane also believes relocation would be more consistent with resource management principles.
The panel declined to recommend the relocation of three other sites. Its decision was primarily based on cultural factors, landscape considerations under the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, and navigational safety considerations.
There are currently twelve sites in the Marlborough Sounds which have resource consent for finfish farming. The proposed new sites were put forward as potential substitutes for existing consented sites.
The report is available on the MPI website here: https://www.mpi.govt.
nz/news-and-resources/consultations/ marlborough-salmon-relocation/ Salmon responds: MPI SALMON FARM RELOCATION PROPOSAL ENTERS NEXT PHASE The Ministry for Primary Industries’ proposal to relocate up to six salmon farms to deeper locations with better water flow (‘high-flow sites’) in the Marlborough Sounds is set to advance to the next stage with today’s release of the Marlborough Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel recommendations for Government to consider.
Grant Rosewarne, CEO of top of the South-based company New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS), says he is delighted that the report supports the growing recognition that aquaculture plays a key role in sustainably feeding our planet.
“Salmon is rightly considered the most sustainable of farmed animal proteins for its minimal space utilisation, feed efficiency, low carbon footprint, and its ability to work harmoniously with the natural nitrogen cycle. Add in the benefits of high yield, an abundance of healthy Omega 3’s, traceability and a great tasting product, and it’s easy to see that this recognition is justified.
“We firmly believe we are contributing to a sustainable food future for New Zealand with our vision for best-practice salmon farming.”
Specifically, the panel acknowledged the ‘distinct environmental advantages’ for benthic (sea bed) health as a result of relocation, alongside ‘minor or less than minor’ effects on the local King shag species and the wider water column.
A thorough review of the recommendations and rationale behind the report is already underway. “We need to look at the practical considerations around the relocations, and address the various cultural, landscape and navigation concerns raised more broadly in the report.
“We hope to work with Government, Council and the community to progress this proposal in as positive a direction as possible. We are committed to not only improving on our sustainability credentials but also on our value to our regional and rural communities as progressive employers.”
If all nine hectares were relocated, about the size of a land-based hobby farm, it is estimated that up to 407 direct and indirect jobs would be created for the company and regional New Zealand once new sites were fully commissioned, Rosewarne says.
“The fact that the Panel has recommended three of the six sites under consideration be relocated upholds the scientific rationale that higher flow sites are most suitable, and that our existing low-flow salmon farms can and should be relocated,” Rosewarne commented.
“We can see that a positive decision by the government would contribute to even better environmental, social and economic outcomes for our region without increasing the space we occupy. This proposal aligns very well with our new government’s vision for swimmable waters, green jobs and strong regional development.
“We’re not standing still in our innovative approaches. High-flow farms are just the first step in the vision to seek the best quality growing environment.
The panel highlighted offshore farming as a future option, and NZKS is keen to explore this as part of our long term business model.”
Conservation troup responds: EDS HAPPY WITH MINISTER’S APPROACH ON KING SALMON The Environmental Defence Society has expressed support for the approach being taken by the Minister of Fisheries on the King Salmon report and recommendations that he released today [February 14].
The special hearings panel has recommended that he approve three of six sites. The three recommended for refusal are ones that EDS opposed on landscape and ecological grounds.
“The report is the product of a controversial fast-track process initiated by the previous Minister, which cut across the normal plan-making process,” said EDS CEO Gary Taylor.
“Minister Nash has said that he intends to take “some months” to consider how he should proceed and will be consulting widely before making a final decision. Clearly he feels uncomfortable with the process he has inherited from his predecessor.
“That is the right approach. The current government is generally opposed to the use of Ministerial override powers in the Resource Management Act. It would be . inconsistent for the Minister to use those powers himself.
“We look forward to considering the report and the best way forward. We will be expressing our views clearly to the Minister in due course.
“In general, we favour consideration of an approach where the issues are referred back to Marlborough District Council to address as part of its review of the aquaculture provisions of its plan. Precisely how that can be done needs more thought and we now have time for that.
“Meantime EDS contends that New Zealand needs a properly formulated aquaculture strategy that explores how innovation in the sector can deliver better outcomes. Persisting with attempts to locate industrial scale salmon farms in areas of great landscape value is a poor way ^ ^ forward,” Mr Taylor concluded. uJl