NZKS welcomes the fact that people support their Marlborough salmon farming expansion plan. (Photo: New Zealand King Salmon/Stock File/FIS)
King Salmon expansion supported by locals
Thursday, April 12, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
There is abundant regional and national support for New Zealand King Salmon’s (NZKS) plans to expand its operations in the Marlborough Sounds, according to a new survey. The Marlborough District Council, however, wants to fight the firm’s growth.
Nearly five times as many New Zealanders support the company’s plans as oppose them – 52.4 per cent to 10.8 per cent. In Marlborough, a similar number (54 per cent) back the firm’s plans.
In addition, nearly 90 per cent of respondents believe commerce and conservation can coexist.
The company has applied to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) to build nine salmon farms; it already has five. Approval of the application would expand the company’s water space by 11-ha or 0.01 per cent of the 150,000 ha in the Marlborough Sounds
Meanwhile, the Marlborough District Council said it will oppose the application to the EPA.
King Salmon CEO Grant Rosewarne said this "extraordinary" decision was "totally at odds with what the community has told us it wants," The Marlborough Express reports.
"It also represents a 180 degree turn in promised support by the MDC. I am told it was a close decision but even so we are astonished the council has taken a position against the application," he continued.
The application is also being contested by environmental groups including a new one, Sustain Our Sounds, launched in mid-February, Fairfax NZ News reports.
The EPA is now requesting submissions on the plans and the survey reveals more than half of locals know they can obtain a hearing.
Respondents said they support NZKS’s plans in part because of the economic gain for the region, local employment and export sales plus the company’s environmental record.
NZKS insists that it has always been transparent about its growth and the survey reveals nearly 70 per cent of Marlborough locals know what the company intends to achieve.
Rosewarne said the survey supports the company’s ‘open door’ policy.
“We announced 12 months ago we would be applying to the EPA for permission to expand and our application has been on its website since October last year.
“The survey confirms we have strong support from the silent majority and reflects the deep knowledge New Zealanders have about what we want to achieve,” he stated.
Anyone can make a submission to the Board of Inquiry and the company is encouraging local residents to do so. Hearings are expected to start in mid-August.
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By Natalia Real