This map shows the current extent of Aquaculture in the Marlborough Sounds
Map of Aquaculture Sites in Marlborough Sounds
pdf (442.3 KB)
Most people have no idea as to the real extent of aquaculture farms in Marlborough.
The Sounds Plan designated the Pelorus Sound as the commercial or industrial zone with the exception of the Kenerpuru and Tennyson Inlet. Ten years later all of the ribbon strip had farms spread intermittently around the coast, then the mussel farmers applied to fill in as many as they could between the farms, then they applied to fill all the middle of the bays up with huge farms, luckily for us the Friends of Nelson Haven group challenged them in the environment court and the judge ruled against middle of the bay farms.
However, now the mussel industry have discovered a new loophole which the MOF and the MDC seem to be prepared to accept , we call it double parking, another layer of farms outside the ribbon development.
The growth rate of many mussel farm sites has slowed dramatically , we suspect this is because there are now too many farms, they have exceeded the carrying capacity of the Sound.
This is because mussels are filter feeders they get their sustenance by filtering zooplankton and phytoplankton , they filter up to 300 litres of water per day, so in the Pelorus, if you have one billion mussels that is 300 billon litres of water per day is having all the life filtered out of it.
We knew it was only a matter of time before mussel farmers figured out a way to feed their mussels, well, now they are talking about siting fish farms inside existing mussel farms so that the mussels can be feed by the nitrogens & nutrients from the fish!
People need to look at that map and imagine the same degree of development in the remaining areas of the Pelorus (like Tennyson Inlet, Titirangi, Waitu, Port Gore and the Queen charlotte).
If this King salmon plan change is successful that is exactly what will happen, as you can see this industry knows no bounds and must be regulated, applicants pay the application fee only, (cost of process). If successful the next day the site is worth a fortune, it can be leased, sold or farmed, of course most applicants don’t really want to farm they are just speculators because they know that all of the licenses will eventually get bought up by the large companies and eventually multinational companies or joint ventures.
That’s why its referred to as the last great Gold rush !
They don’t have to buy the seabed, they don’t have to pay rates on it, they don’t have to externalize their waste, meaning they are not required to filter the solids and toxins from the waste and dispose of it properly like every other land based business has to (including Dairy farms), they just expect the environment to subsidize their waste and they expect the rate payers to pay for the environmental monitoring of their pollution.
To date we have only heard about King Salmon and their plan change and application for 8 farms. Be warned this is just the very first application. The mussel industry are waiting in the wings, Iwi have formed a natural grouping to better capitalise on the new legislation. We suspect that if the King Salmon private plan change is successful, Iwi will be approached by Multinational companies like the Norwegians , Dutch and Japanese to form Joint Ventures and partnerships.
Their are others also like the Ngai tahu finfish farm application, which is to convert an existing mussel farm into a mixed fish/mussel farm, farming not salmon but Hapuka, which if they get diseased and escape they could spread disease to our wild stocks !
If the King Salmon plan change is successful it will set a president, and the mussel farmers and Iwi groups will follow suit, followed by speculators, big companies and finally multinationals.
The Governments wish is to develop a billion dollar aquaculture industry in the Marlborough Sounds. They say that all the coastal marine areas to the south are too exposed and all areas to the North the water temperature is too warm! They are prepared to sacrifice the entire Marlborough Sounds for the sake of short term gain.
King Salmon are asking for these licenses to be granted as Controlled Activities, which means that when their terms expire (35 yrs) the Council have no option but to renew. This means they will be licenses in perpetuity. In other words they will have privatised and industrialized our seabed, our Public Common.
Do you remember the Foreshore and Seabed bill? After years of arguing the Government decreed that the foreshore and seabed belongs to all New Zealanders.
It is hypocrisy that this Government has introduced a new bill (Aquaculture Ammendment Bill) that allows for the privatization of our seabed (Public Common).