Iwi to es­tab­lish an off­shore fin fish farm

Waihi Leader - - News -

The Waikato is on track to es­tab­lish the North Is­land’s first off­shore fin fish farm for a new com­mer­cial species — king­fish.

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil has granted Pare Hau­raki Kaimoana author­ity to ap­ply for re­source con­sents to oc­cupy 240ha of fin fish farm­ing space in the Firth of Thames.

The space, known as the Coro­man­del Ma­rine Farm­ing Zone, is about 10km off­shore of Coro­man­del Town.

Pare Hau­raki Kaimoana pro­poses farm­ing king­fish, and the au­tho­ri­sa­tion means they now have two years to pre­pare and sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion for the nec­es­sary re­source con­sents.

The coun­cil called for ten­ders in 2017 to as­sess mar­ket in­ter­est and ap­pli­cant suit­abil­ity to un­der­take fin fish farm­ing in the zone.

The ten­der pro­pos­als were as­sessed against cri­te­ria, such as pro­posed en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment prac­tices, eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity, and mone­tary con­tri­bu­tion to the coun­cil and cen­tral gov­ern­ment to oc­cupy and use the wa­ter space.

Fol­low­ing the ten­der eval­u­a­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion process, au­tho­ri­sa­tion has been granted.

“Pare Hau­raki Kaimoana is al­ready a ma­jor player in our re­gional aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try and their ten­der pro­posal demon­strated a deep com­mit­ment to achiev­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal, eco­nomic and so­cial out­comes for the re­gion,” said the coun­cil’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, Vaughan Payne.

“Ex­ist­ing shell­fish aqua­cul­ture around the ThamesCoro­man­del district, and re­lated pro­cess­ing, gen­er­ates just un­der $100 mil­lion of rev­enue a year and di­rectly employs more than 550 peo­ple, mak­ing the Waikato re­gion sec­ond only to the Marl­bor­ough Sounds in terms of pro­duc­tion and em­ploy­ment,” Dal Minogue, ThamesCoro­man­del con­stituency coun­cil­lor, said.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to think that, over time, suc­cess­ful fish farm­ing in the Coro­man­del Ma­rine Farm­ing Zone could gen­er­ate ad­di­tional rev­enue of more than $50 mil­lion and dozens of full time jobs through ex­pan­sion and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the re­gional aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try,” Cr Minogue said.

Sev­eral years ago there was strong in­ter­est in farm­ing king­fish and ha¯puku in the re­gion. The Coro­man­del Ma­rine Farm­ing Zone was sub­se­quently es­tab­lished in 2011 by a cen­tral gov­ern­ment amend­ment to the Waikato Re­gional Coastal Plan.

But due to the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis in­ter­est in fish farm­ing waned.

Then in mid-2016 there was re­newed in­ter­est from the aqua­cul­ture mar­ket in tak­ing up space in the zone, re­sult­ing in the call for ten­ders.

“The ap­proval process to is­sue the au­tho­ri­sa­tion has been lengthy, in part be­cause of the process spec­i­fied in the Re­source Man­age­ment Act and also com­plex­i­ties in de­ter­min­ing a com­mer­cial ar­range­ment for a mar­ket that doesn’t yet ex­ist in New Zealand,” Mr Payne said.

Any ap­pli­ca­tion for a re­source con­sent to farm fish must con­sider a staged ap­proach to de­vel­op­ment, ac­com­pa­nied by a site spe­cific as­sess­ment of po­ten­tial en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­fects and a holis­tic en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing plan.

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