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Aquaculture Reform Progressing


NEW ZEALAND - Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley today acknowledged the quality of submissions received on the report of the Aquaculture Technical Advisory Group and said the governments programme of legislative reform for the sector was progressing well.

“Submissions came from a wide range of stakeholders who are vitally interested in this area of great potential for New Zealand’s economic future,” Mr Heatley said.

“All submissions will be seriously considered as we move into the next phase of realising this potential.”

The advisory group, chaired by Sir Doug Kidd, was set up to provide options for overhauling the current aquaculture regime. It delivered its report in early November and submissions closed on 16 December.

A total of 223 submissions were received, 80 of which came from the recreational sector. Other well represented stakeholders were the aquaculture industry, environmental interests, customary fishers, commercial interests and local government.

A number of well attended meetings were held around the country during November and December. Key issues raised included the role of government in allowing for marine farming, the aquaculture levy proposed by the advisory group, resource consent renewals, regionally specific transition to the new regime, the “undue adverse effects” (UAE) test on fishing, and delivery of the Aquaculture Settlement for Maori.

“The level of support for many of the group’s recommendations confirms my initial view that they did a comprehensive and rigorous job. I thank them again for that,” Mr Heatley said.

The next step in the process is cabinet consideration of proposals followed by the drafting of a bill which will be referred to a select committee. The select committee will call for public submissions. It is expected the bill will be introduced to Parliament in mid 2010.

“It is very important that we now move forward to create the right platform to allow New Zealand’s aquaculture sector to start growing.

“The complexity, cost and uncertainty of the current regime, together with poor incentives for development, have been impeding aquaculture growth.

“I am confident we will get a regime in place that enables this crucial industry to achieve its goal of becoming a $1 billion contributor to the New Zealand economy – while always protecting the environment and recreational opportunities of other users of our coastal areas,” Mr Heatley said.

The advisory group report, copies of all written submissions received, and a summary of the key themes in the submissions, are at