14 Dec 2008

Govt to overhaul aquaculture rules

9:57 pm on 14 December 2008

The Government has announced it will overhaul the rules governing aquaculture when it reviews the Resource Management Act.

It says the industry has a goal of becoming a billion dollar a year industry by 2025 and the Government is committed to helping it achieve this target.

The Government says since aquaculture management was brought under the control of regional councils in 2004 as part of the RMA, no new aquaculture space has been created.

A bill to amend that legislation was introduced to Parliament earlier this year but has now lapsed, and Aquaculture New Zealand says if it doesn't proceed, the sector will continue to stagnate.

The organisation's chief executive Mike Burrell says a number of obstacles have have been identified in the current legislation, which doesn't allow for experimental marine farming outside established aquaculture zones.

He says they need to look at why there hasn't been a single application under the new regime.

Mr Burrell says the incentives aren't there for councils, government or industry to make the investment in the planned changes.

He says the briefing to the incoming minister has been very upfront in saying that the system hasn't worked and that there needs to be significant change.

Mr Burrell says he's confident the new Government will be open to changing the legislation.