Salmon farming company New Zealand King Salmon says it's got a very strong economic case for more than doubling its operations in the Marlborough Sounds.
The company is seeking consents to expand its farming operations by a further 12 surface hectares over eight sites in Pelorus Sound, Port Gore, Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound.
It currently has seven sites covering covering about seven surface hectares.
The government has referred the application to a board of inquiry because it sees it as a project of national significance.
The company says if its application is approved it could double production in three to five years and create 120 new jobs in the region.
King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne says the expansion it is proposing would take up only about 0.1% of the Marlborough Sounds surface area.
"We can take an incredibly small amount of space to create huge economic value," he says.
He says few primary industries have the ability to create such significant export income from such a small amount of space.
Mr Rosewarne says he's confident the company will get the approval it is seeking.
He says the EPA process is science-based and very rigorous and allows everyone to have their say.
Mr Rosewarne says New Zealand King Salmon is currently a $111 million business which he hopes will ultimately be worth half a billion dollars.