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Public Comment Compromised In Fish Farming Proposal

NEW ZEALAND - The Environmental Defence Society is concerned that the submission period on proposed marine farming in the Coromandel is being pushed through over the Christmas break, seemingly in an attempt to minimise public participation.

On 17 December 2010 the Ministry of Fisheries released a consultation document aiming to "engage the public on a proposal to amend the Waikato Regional Coastal Plan to remove the prohibition on new aquaculture in a defined 300-ha zone in the Hauraki Gulf."

"Under the proposal, applications for fish farming would be allowed to be lodged in the proposed zone, which is located in the south eastern Hauraki Gulf, west of the Coromandel Township. The proposed zone is located along a direct navigation route from Waiheke Island to Coromandel harbour," said EDS Chairman Gary Taylor.

The submission period closes on 9 February 2011.

"EDS considers this time period does not provide an adequate opportunity for public participation, in what is a complex issue, with effects on a wide range of activities in the coastal marine area including boating and fishing.

“The Ministry has not followed a fair process in setting this unrealistic and unreasonable submission period. This is heightened by the fact that many of the users of this area, especially boaties, will not be in a position to make a submission because they’ll be out on the Gulf during the holiday period.

“EDS has asked the Minister of Fisheries & Aquaculture to intervene to extend the consultation period to the end of February to allow adequate time for all issues to be ventilated and all members of the public to participate,” Mr Taylor concluded.

the Fish Site Editor

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