18 December, 2008
Decade long struggle highlights need for change
Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley have welcomed the decision to allocate more space for aquaculture but have expressed disappointment that it took so long.
The Ministers were commenting on today's announcement by the Ministry of Fisheries' of its final decision on the Tasman and Golden Bay Interim Aquaculture Management Area application, which includes 850 hectares of new aquaculture space.
"It is good this new space is finally being made available but it has been a trying and costly process for the local authorities, marine farmers and commercial fishers," Mr Heatley said.
Dr Smith said the delay was caused by rules that were not working and was another example of why the Government was overhauling the Resource Management Act and aquaculture law.
"It is disappointing to see how much time, energy and money has been lost going through a tortuous, almost 10-year long process under the RMA and aquaculture laws to get us to this point," Dr Smith said.
"Early next year the Government will introduce into Parliament reforms that will make it less difficult, costly and time consuming for projects to be considered and approved."
Mr Heatley said: "Aquaculture is a valuable industry with huge potential for sustainable economic growth so the rules have to change.
"The Tasman and Golden Bay local authorities have been trying to make aquaculture work for their region but their efforts have routinely been frustrated by problems with the law."
On 12 December Ministers Heatley and Smith announced an overhaul of the RMA and the aquaculture regime, due to start early next year. See: