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NZ Aquaculture Bill Brings Troubled Waters

NEW ZEALAND - Threats of a decade of litigation over fishing laws were made at a select committee hearing today.

According to the National Business Review, representatives of the Challenger Group told Parliament’s primary production committee the aquaculture laws were a mess and that if they are not sorted out, every application for a new aquaculture management area will be challenged in the courts.

“We’ve got two judicial review proceedings ready to be filed right now,” lawyer Tony Stallard told MPs.

“Every individual application filed will be challenged by the group I represent. The aim [of the legislation] is to get all the parties to work together. There’s no framework for that. That’s you guy’s job to fix.”

And if Parliament does not fix it, “you’re going to invite another five to 10 years of court action.” The Challenger Group’s submissions was supported by the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen and the Motueka/Golden Bay Fishermen’s Association.

The aquaculture legislation, passed in 2005, was supposed to kickstart the industry by allowing the designation of aquaculture management areas. This succeeded a moratorium which had been running since 2001.

However, there have been no new areas since the law was enacted, meaning the industry has been stymied for nearly eight years.