6 Dec 2022

Environment 'think-tank' appeals against establishment of first open-sea fish farm

1:02 pm on 6 December 2022

King Salmon's Te Pangu Bay farm. Photo: Supplied/ NZ King Salmon

An environment 'think-tank' is appealing against the first open-sea fish farm being set up - saying it could negatively affect rare dolphins and the local ecosystem.

Last month, the Marlborough District Council granted NZ Salmon King consent to start a salmon farm which covers up to 1000 hectares in the Cook Strait.

The company's move to farm in colder waters followed several years of poor fish harvests, and a large number dying because of rising water temperatures.

McGuinness Institute chief executive Wendy McGuinness questioned how such a huge farm of fish tanks was potentially allowed to set up without enough research, and said that it could potentially be allowed to operate for more than 30 years.

There were land-based solutions available, such as large tanks using fresh water from the mountains as opposed to clogging up open waters with acres of fish cages, McGuinness said.

More research needed to be done to clarify whether endangered species such as the Maui dolphin had been seen in the ocean where the proposed farm was located, she said.

The Cook Strait was home to multiple species of fish and birds - and they all needed to have their habitats respected and protected, she said.

The Department of Conservation has also appealed against the fish farm proposal and NZ King Salmon said it will start negotiating with them in the new year.

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