THE FIRST new space to be allocated for salmon for over 20 years has been given the go ahead, with the Supreme Court approving three out of four new salmon farms in Marlborough. Two of the new farms will be located in Pelorus Sound and combined with one in Tory Channel will account for about four surface hectares in the Marlborough Sounds and is expected to generate up to 150 new jobs for the region.
The Supreme Court decision comes three years after New Zealand King Salmon applied for changes to the Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan as well as resource consents to farm salmon at nine new sites.
"We are pleased to finally have some certainty after three years of legal process. The decision enables us to bring economic benefits to the region while operating in an environmentally sustainable manner,” says New Zealand King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne.
Rosewarne says the benefits from the new farms will be significant, providing a 10 year growth trajectory for the company with minimal environmental impact.
"Salmon farming has low feed inputs, high yields, uses little space and relieves pressure on the wild fishery. The jobs generated from this expansion could well be described as green jobs," he says.
Once operational, salmon farming in Marlborough will generate around $210m in direct revenues as well as flow-on business for local companies. In addition, more of New Zealand King Salmon's operations could eventually be located in Marlborough including fish processing and management functions. Rosewarne says processing in Marlborough would reduce time to market by a day, meaning fresher fish to customers, while reducing costs.
New Zealand King Salmon is working alongside the Marlborough District Council, marine scientists and environmental campaigners to develop best practice guidelines for salmon farming. The guidelines are being facilitated and guided by renowned international experts to bring confidence and independence to the process.