New Zealand King Salmon has been given approval to build four more salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.
The company had asked the Environmental Protection Authority to create nine farms. Five of those applications were rejected.
In a draft decision granting consents for farms at Papatua, Ngamahau, Richmond and Waitata, the authority said there will be some adverse effects in respect of water quality, seabed and landscape but they can be adequately managed.
It said the potential effects of the other five farms were too large to grant consent.
The plans drew local criticism, with questions raised about the economic benefits for the region and the impact on the environment.
One of the opponents was Marlborough District Council. Mayor Alistair Sowman said the farms that have been given the go-ahead are all in prime fishing areas.
He said the Ngamahau location will be the most contentious for locals as it will be an eyesore on the ferry route between Picton and Wellington.
The consents have been granted for 35 years, but the details will not be finalised until February following consultation.
Opportunity missed says King Salmon
New Zealand King Salmon says the country has missed a golden opportunity.
Its chief executive Grant Rosewarne says the four new farms will double the size of the company but so much more could have been done.
Mr Rosewarne says New Zealand has missed out on the opportunity to add valuable export income while Marlborough has missed out on 370 new jobs.
He says the views of a few naysayers have been accepted as the majority, but the company commissioned a survey which showed that four out of five people were in support of the new farms.