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Marine farm expansion plan strikes rough water

NEW ZEALAND - Southern Marine Farms Ltd wants to expand its existing seaweed farming operation in Bluff Harbour to include oysters, mussels and kina.

However, it has become a sensitive issue with the Invercargill City Council, Southland Trailer Yacht Squadron, and the Department of Conservation initially objecting to the company's plans.

The company has a marine-farm licence to grow the seaweed porphyra columbina (nori) and wants to amend its coastal permit to add the new species.

Its application to Environment Southland says with less than half of the site at Bluff Harbour being of suitable depth to deploy longlines for growing oysters, mussels or cockles, the remainder of its site will be used to continue cultivating seaweed.

Environment Southland consents officer Kylie Galbraith's report says production of oysters in the short term will be targeted at building stocks of juveniles for growing on site or on another marine-farm site.

"Any farming of paua and kina will be on an experimental small scale, with the animals fed exclusively on seaweed grown on the farm. The various species will be sourced locally, with the exception of the green-lipped mussels, which will be sourced from Ninety Mile Beach, the usual supply area for green-lipped mussels in New Zealand," the report says.

The Invercargill City Council wants the regional council to decline the application for the site within Bluff Harbour because of noise, visual and access issues.

Source: The Southland Times

the Fish Site Editor

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