MFish working through backlog

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 April 2007, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - The Ministry of Fisheries is getting on top of a backlog of permits that has long been frustrating Marlborough's marine farmers.

There are 43 applications left to process around New Zealand, including 36 from Marlborough. That's down from 206 in December 2003, 179 of which were from this region.

MFish management advisor Daniel Lees said additional applications came in from Marlborough through the Environment Courts and in the past two years MFish had processed 204 applications.

The permits are part of the former aquaculture law, replaced in 2005 by the Aquaculture Reform legislation, which set up aquaculture management areas (AMAs).

When granted, all the areas granted permits become AMAs.

Mr Lees said a dedicated team had been set up to get through the applications and the aquaculture industry had provided good science in support of their applications, which had helped get through the backlog.

Most of the remaining applications would be completed this year, he said.

Marlborough Mussel Company research and development manager Aaron Pannell said the company had been waiting for "about six years" but had all of its permits through now.

"Some of the very early consents we got in 1999 and we got the permit in 2006. It was the ironic situation when we got the permits and only had six months left before we had to renew them. With one I started the renewal process a few months after I got it."