Aquaculture for all

Waikato Seek Out Big, Sustainable Development

NEW ZEALAND - After nearly two years of information gathering, Environment Waikato has decided to prepare an amendment to the Regional Coastal Plan that would allow new types of marine farming, including fish farming, within current aquaculture management areas.

According to Voxy, under the current marine farming chapter of the plan, written in 1999, shellfish farming is the only type of aquaculture allowed in the region.

Environment Waikato policy committee chair Paula Southgate said Environment Waikato had carefully considered the positive and negative impacts of fish farming over the past 18 months.

"We wanted to be sure we had plenty of robust scientific studies on the environmental impacts before contemplating a plan change." She told Voxy.

She said the proposal scored very well for economics, which was reflected by the enthusiasm of the industry, central government and development agencies. However lessons from overseas had shown that poorly managed fish farms could cause significant environmental damage.

"Because fish farming is more intensive than shellfish farming and involves feeding and potentially the use of medicinal compounds, the ecological effects can be much greater than shellfish farming," she told the news agency.

“A number of technical reports have been commissioned to explore these potential effects. It is expected that a finalised plan change could be adopted by Council and notified for formal submissions around mid-2009.

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