• Nick Smith

The temporary ban on coastal permits for new marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds has been extended for another year, Minister of Conservation Nick Smith announced today.

In July 1996, the government put a two-year temporary halt on the Marlborough District Council granting coastal permits for new marine farms to allow a tendering system to be developed for managing marine farming applications. The ban was instituted through an Order in Council, issued under the Resource Management Act.

"A new Order in Council, extending the ban on coastal permits for another year, allows breathing space so the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan can be finalised. It is critical that the tendering system fits in with the Council's proposed management plan."

Dr Smith said there was a great deal of interest in marine farming in the Marlborough Sounds and that it was important that a fair and balanced approach was taken.

"The current system is very arbitrary and encourages a gold-mining type mentality of rushing in and applying for as much space as possible. We need to have a good method of determining and allocating coastal space for marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds - "first come, first served" isn't the best way to operate in this case. The situation is further complicated by the recent decision of the Maori Land Court over ownership of the foreshore and seabed. We need to take a cautious approach until these issues are resolved."

The new Order in Council comes into effect on 12 July, 1998.