Coromandel residents are gearing up to fight a proposed marine farm in Mercury Bay, off Cooks Beach, saying an untouched environment would become industrialised and affect marine mammals.
If the application for a resource consent for the 30 hectare mussel spat catching facility is approved, it will be the first commercial marine farm on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsular.
The applicants say when the mussel spat - the very young shellfish - are detected on the catching lines, they would be removed from the water and shipped to the Firth of Thames to be re-hung on existing mussel farms.
They say the impact on the ecosystem would be less than minor.
But Andrew Barber of the Whauwhau Environmental Group says the marine farm would wreck the delicate ecology and open up the floodgates for further commercialisation of a pristine stretch of coastline.