Aquaculture for all

Marine farm 'a threat'

NEW ZEALAND - Forest and Bird says it is disappointed the Government has given the green light to a major marine farm development on the South Island's West Coast, claiming that it threatens the safety of Hector's dolphins and Fiordland crested penguins in the area.

The Ministry of Fisheries has given the preliminary go-ahead to the plan, the first marine farm on the Coast.

Jackson Bay Mussels Ltd, a Nelson-based consortium, has plans for a 45.5ha mussel farm in the clear sheltered waters 1km offshore in Jackson Bay, north of Fiordland.

However, Eugenie Sage, Forest and Bird's South Island field coordinator, said Jackson Bay was a very important nursery area for Hector's dolphins with high numbers of sightings of mothers with calves.

"Increased boat traffic by vessels servicing the farm increases the risk of boat strike, particularly for dolphin calves."

Sage said 10 per cent of the world's population of the Fiordland penguin was also found at the Jackson Head colony.


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