8 Jun 2015

More aquaculture space for Tasman region

6:57 am on 8 June 2015

Seafood New Zealand says a decision by the Ministry for Primary Industries to open up more space for aquaculture in Tasman Bay and Golden Bay is a positive step.

MPI said about 2000 hectares of new space would be made available in the region, after the ministry considered the latest information about the fishery.

The ministry was forced to go back to the drawing board after a 2008 decision by the then Ministry of Fisheries to approve 850 hectares of proposed Aquaculture Management Areas for the development of marine farming in the Tasman area.

That decision was challenged in the High Court and Court of Appeal by industry, and in 2013 MPI was directed to reconsider aspects of its decision.

MPI was tasked with considering the impact on the local scallop fishery in particular, and it said its latest decision reflected marked changes to both the scallop populations and the commercial scallop fishing industry since 2008.

Chief executive of Seafood New Zealand Tim Pankhurst has welcomed the increase in aquaculture space.

"There will be some interests that may be disappointed in the competing use of water space, but there are processes for resolving that and the parties can work through it.

"So overall, it is good news for aquaculture, good news for the region and for the country as a whole."

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