The applications by the Talley's Group and Clearwater Mussels Ltd are the latest in a series to extend farms seaward, since the Government introduced the Aquaculture Reform Amendment Act 2011. The change made it easier to apply for space in areas where marine farming was previously prohibited including more than 200 metres from shore, reports The Marlborough Express.
Council commissioner Richard Fowler approved the Talley's Group application for extensions to two adjacent mussel farms at Beatrix Bay where he said there was an almost continuous ribbon of marine farms.
The extensions will create a 20.3ha farm extending 340 metres from the low water mark.
Mr Fowler said the farms were in an area of outstanding landscape values and alongside a scenic reserve. However, this was not unusual and the farms pre-dated council resource management plans.
Talley's expert Peter Davidson gave evidence that expanding the farms would not limit mussel growth in the area.
Mussel growth was stronger in areas of strong flow where currents delivered phytoplankton faster than it could be consumed, Mr Davidson said. Where currents were weak, growth could be stalled especially in winter months.
Mr Fowler also granted Clearwater Mussels' application to expand an 8.2ha farm in Forsyth Bay to 12.5ha and extending its outer boundary to up to 360m offshore.
Clearwater Mussels grows mussels through to processing in Blenheim, Havelock and Motueka.