20 Oct 2008

Marine farm seen as boost for Bay of Plenty

12:48 pm on 20 October 2008

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council sees the development of a big marine farm in the eastern bay, as a major boost for the region's economy.

A 3800-hectare mussel farm and spat catching operation will be built in stages, 8.5km off the coast from Opotiki.

Final consent has come from the Minister of Conservation, after the Environment Court upheld approval granted by the regional council in 2002.

Eastern Seafarms Ltd is a joint venture between iwi and two fishing companies.

Senior regional development advisor Cheryl McGregor says it's the start of a new industry in the Bay of Plenty.

Currently, there are three oyster farms in the Bay of Plenty, in the Ohiwa Harbour and a small scale mussel farm is planned for Factory Bay, Te Kaha.

The council is also processing an application for an marine farm of more than 4000 hectares, off Otamarakau.