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Mussel farmer wants law change

NEW ZEALAND - An immediate change in the law is vital to protect Golden Bay's mussel farms. The industry also need to improve communication at all levels to protect it from invasive species and disease.

The call comes from Winston Rountree, director of the Waitapu Fishing Company. Speaking toi the Nelson Mail, he said he fears the region's greenshell mussel industry could be ruined at the hands of the potentially invasive South African brown mussels

The species has been left behind by an oil-drilling ship in Tasman Bay de-fouled before moving into Australian waters.

Mr Rountree criticised Biosecurity New Zealand for allowing the ship to clean its rig in the bay and for not informing mussel farmers in the region after brown mussels were left behind.


"The first I heard about it was when I read it in the newspaper and I've had no correspondence from the ministry since then," said Mr Rountree, who is also member of the Golden Bay Marine Farms Consortium.

"If these brown mussels spread they could ruin the whole industry. The law should be changed immediately to stop foreign boats being de-fouled in New Zealand waters within 200 miles of the coastline," he added.

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Ellen Hardy

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