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Port Underwood is a long a sound running north south and is accessed by road from Picton via Port Underwood Road

Mussel farm granted permission to expand despite neighbours’ opposition

Click on the flag for more information about New Zealand NEW ZEALAND
Wednesday, July 17, 2019, 01:00 (GMT + 9)

A marine farm in the Marlborough Sounds has been granted permission to expand, despite neighbours saying the area will not cope.

Allan Tester and Stephen Cross applied to extend their 7.29 hectare longline farm at Deep Bight, Te Whanganui/Port Underwood, by adding another 1.265ha.



The farm grows green and blue shell mussels, scallops, dredge oysters, seaweed and algae, and the extension would add 60 tonnes of mussels per year, and create one job.

Tester and Cross said the farm contributed to the economy, and was a sustainable and efficient form of protein production, their application said.

Tester, who had been involved in the aquaculture industry since 1982, said the bay was a "working environment" and a good place for marine farms.

      

Location of subject site in Deep Bight 

Experienced sea captain David Walker said in a submission Te Whanganui/Port Underwood was not as popular with recreational boaties as the Marlborough Sounds, and the expansion was unlikely to get in the way.

It had been there since 1987, but was only 2.6ha at the time and was extended in 1994 and 2013.

There would be a 120-metre channel between the farm and the next, a Talley's farm to the south.

Aquadynamic Solutions senior oceanographer Dr Neil Harstein said the area still had plenty of carrying capacity, meaning there was enough habitat, water and food to carry a larger marine population.

   

Existing marine farming (blue)

Davidson Environmental marine biologist Rob Davidson said there were no significant biological sites in the area.

A decline in fish stock and diversity in the Marlborough Sounds over the years was more likely due to overfishing than the increasing number of mussel farms, he said.

Existing marine farming (blue). 

 View of marine farm site looking east

The top three threats to the marine environment were bottom trawling, dredging and invasive species, while aquaculture was 19th out of 65 threats.

But the Port Underwood Association opposed the farm, saying there should be a limit to the number of marine farms in Te Whanganui/Port Underwood.

Author: Jennifer / Stuff.co.nz (Read the whole story here)



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