An appeal against the establishment of more salmon farms in the Malborough Sounds has been lodged in the High Court.
New Zealand King Salmon applied for nine new farms, and the Environmental Protection Authority has approved four of them.
But the Environmental Defence Society says the farms will be in areas that are protected for their conservation and recreational values.
It says the authority's decision is inconsistent with the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement, requiring adverse effects of activities to be avoided in coastal environments of outstanding natural character.
Society chairman Gary Taylor says the authority made an error in law by recognising one of the proposed sites as outstanding, then failing to protect it.
He says the society will be lodging an appeal relating to two of the four approved sites, at Papatua and Waitata.
King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne wasn't happy at receiving the go-ahead for only four farms given the cost and time invested in the application. But he said even with just the four new sites the company can still double its output and create more jobs.
The Nelson-based firm must await the outcome of the appeal before any work can commence on the new farms.