Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley has welcomed the new New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) announced today by Conservation Minister, Kate Wilkinson.
Mr Heatley says he is pleased the NZCPS aligns with the Government’s objectives for aquaculture by recognising the importance of sustainable aquaculture development for economic growth.
“The fact that Councils and decision makers must now recognise the potential value of aquaculture and plan for it where appropriate, will undoubtedly help us to grow this valuable industry,” says Mr Heatley.
“Inclusion of an aquaculture-specific policy sends a clear signal to councils they must consider the potential of aquaculture and recognise aquaculture’s contribution to regional and national economies,” he says.
“Protecting biodiversity and water quality is also critical to fisheries and aquaculture development,” he said.
The recently established Aquaculture Unit will be working with regional councils to help them plan for aquaculture.
Ms Wilkinson says the new statement will replace the NZCPS 1994 and is more specific about how some matters of national importance under the RMA should be protected from inappropriate use and development. Key differences include:
- Direction on protection of natural character, outstanding landscapes, biodiversity and nationally significant surf breaks.
- Stronger requirement to identify where water quality is degraded and should be enhanced.
- Direction on maintenance of public access to and along the coast, identifying walking access as the basic priority and better management of vehicles on beaches.
- Updated policy on the management of coastal hazard risks.
The new Coastal Policy Statement will be officially gazetted next Thursday and come into force on December 3. Until then, the NZCPS 1994 remains in effect.
A copy of the statement can be found at www.doc.govt.nz/coastalpolicy.