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NZ King Salmon Production to Rise if Farm Plans Accepted

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand King Salmon could lift production from about 8750 tonnes a year to about 22,000 tonnes a year if its application to develop nine new fish farms in the Marlborough Sounds is successful, aquaculture general manager Mark Preece commented.

An Environmental Protection Authority hearing to consider an application by King Salmon for a required plan change and resource consents, opened at the Floor Pride Marlborough Civic Theatre, reports TheMalboroughExpress.

King Salmon operations and contracts manager Mark Gillard, who managed the proposed expansion project, said demand for fish grown by the company was outstripping ability to supply.

To expand, the company needed new farms in Queen Charlotte and Pelorus Sounds and Port Gore in the outer Sounds, where the Marlborough District Council had prohibited aquaculture.

The company investigated converting mussel farms to salmon farms in a review in 1998, but of the 500 or so farms, only one might have met key criteria.

Mr Gillard told the board proposed sites were mostly;

  • deep, because there was more space to farm fish
  • cool, so fish efficiently converted feed to flesh and stayed healthy
  • fast-flowing, to wash away waste
  • sheltered, so cages were not damaged by swells
  • distant from significant landscapes, homes and baches
  • unlikely to clash with other uses like boating, fishing and tourism.

Mr Preece said pollution at a low-flow site such as Papatua in Port Gore was the equivalent of a shot of coffee per square metre a day 250 metres away, or a third of a shot per square metre each week. To help its farms blend in with the landscape, camouflage colours would be used for nets and the barges where staff lived and fish feed was stored, he said. Barges would be smaller than originally planned.

Boffa Miskell Ltd director Sarah Dawson gave details of the plan change needed for King Salmon to develop its new farms as well as conditions which would need to be met.

The hearing is expected to take 10 weeks.

Lucy Towers

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