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NZ: Net Cast on Fish Farming in Firth of Thames

by Ellen Hardy
14 August 2008, at 1:00am

NEW ZEALAND - The net is being cast to see if fish farming can be introduced in the Firth of Thames, but a number of regional councillors say it could do more harm than good.

Currently the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan only allows shellfish farming, but the wheels for a plan change were yesterday set in motion at Environment Waikato's policy and strategy committee, reports the Waikato Times.

The committee voted seven to three to give the go ahead for council's senior coastal policy advisor, Graeme Silver, to draft a "cautionary" plan for possible aquaculture diversification within existing areas. Caution was the buzz word at yesterday's meeting with a wary approach suggested by both Mr Silver and councillors after much robust debate.

According to Waikato Times, Mr Silver said some new types of aquaculture, such as fish farming, have the potential for much greater impacts on the environment than shellfish due to the addition of feed and the possible use of medicinal compounds.

Ecological effects, including genetic impact on wild populations, and disease and parasite transmissions would also have to be considered.

Ellen Hardy