New standards for existing marine farms provide consistency

  • Hon David Parker
  • Hon Stuart Nash
Environment Fisheries

New environmental standards will make the re-consenting of existing marine farms more consistent across the country. 

The new regulations for the National Environmental Standards for Marine Aquaculture (NES-MA) will come into effect on 1 December, Environment Minister David Parker and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash said.  

“The NES-MA removes complexities and standardises the rules nationally for re-consenting our existing 1,150 marine farms,” said Stuart Nash. “They are expected to drive innovation and growth in our important aquaculture industry.” 

“Marine farming generated more than $650 million in revenue last year and brought around 3,000 jobs to local communities. 

“Around 55 percent of existing marine farms have consents which are due to expire in the next five years. A nationally consistent system is important for the aquaculture industry and for affected local communities.  It will help manage the expected wave of re-consenting and enable a more efficient process for managing existing marine farms.

“The new standards provide a more consistent framework for ongoing management of existing farms. They give certainty for investment and for sustainable fishing practices. This is a priority as the economy continues to open up and recover from the impacts of COVID19.”

The Ministers also signalled further work is ongoing on biosecurity management issues for marine farms. They have asked officials for further advice on ways to improve biosecurity across all aquaculture.

“Improving biosecurity management for aquaculture is crucial and further work is needed to ensure the best approach is taken across all aquaculture, both marine and land-based. Our decisions on the NES-MA confirm that this work must progress,” said Mr Nash.

The NES-MA is an important component of the Government’s Aquaculture Strategy which outlines plans to grow the sector five-fold to $3 billion by 2035. Aquaculture growth will be accelerated well ahead of the current 2035 target through the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential initiative released earlier this month.

The project to develop this NES-MA was led by Fisheries New Zealand with the support of the Ministry for the Environment, and the Department of Conservation. 

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