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Mussel farm trial to take the next step

by the Fish Site Editor
15 September 2004, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - A trial of the world's largest offshore mussel farm, in Canterbury, will move to resource consent hearings after the Government agreed to lift its aquaculture moratorium early for the 2600ha Pegasus Bay venture.

Mussel farm trial to take the next step - NEW ZEALAND - A trial of the world's largest offshore mussel farm, in Canterbury, will move to resource consent hearings after the Government agreed to lift its aquaculture moratorium early for the 2600ha Pegasus Bay venture.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter yesterday recommended the Governor-General lift the Government's moratorium on new aquaculture development immediately for the Pegasus Bay application, following a request from Environment Canterbury (ECan).

The decision clears the way for an application to develop a mussel farm 10 kilometres offshore in Pegasus Bay to proceed to resource consent hearings by the Canterbury regional council. The venture may also require a fishing licence from the Minister of Conservation.

The Pegasus Marine Farming Joint Venture originally contemplated a huge 10,660ha (100 square kilometres) mussel farm about 10km off the Waimakariri River mouth. The application was stalled when the Government imposed its moratorium two years ago, saying it needed time to devise new laws governing the fast-growing industry.

In March, ECan asked for a partial relaxation of the moratorium to allow a quarter-size trial farm to be set up in the same spot. The moratorium, due to be lifted in December, has been delayed because of new aquaculture legislation, complicated by the foreshore and seabed issue.

Pacifica Seafoods, which expects to process the Pegasus Bay mussels, has said that it could still be several years before a resource consent and fishing permit were issued for the trial site. A 2002 survey found that the operation could inject $2 billion in earnings into the economy and create 2500 jobs.

Source: Asia Intelligence Wire - 14th September 2004

the Fish Site Editor