Wednesday, June 19, 2024

RMA reform needed to keep aquaculture flowing

The impact of high water temperature on New Zealand King Salmon’s forecast revenue is a sharp reminder that resource management system reforms are needed to deliver better management for aquaculture, Oceans and Fisheries Minister David Parker said today.

“The company announced last week that warmer sea temperatures in Pelorus Sound in the Marlborough Sounds, likely brought on by climate change, were contributing to more salmon dying this year,” Mr Parker said.

“Our response to climate change is not something that can be delayed. Its effects are real and present for New Zealand companies, and the people who work for them.”

The situation also highlights that the Resource Management Act is not equipped to deal with these realities, the Minister said.

“Strategic planning to get ahead of these kind of matters hasn’t happened.”

“Establishing small areas of new aquaculture space remains a drawn out, difficult and litigious process, even after 20 years of efforts under the RMA to improve it. As a result, some marine farms need to be better located but the system makes that very difficult.”

He said RMA reform will deliver a system that is more agile and better able to adapt to the realities of climate change.

“This includes a sustainable management regime for aquaculture so the sector can fulfill its potential, contribute to the economy and help communities prosper.”

“The reforms we are putting in place will deliver a planning system that provides for growth in the sector, sets environmental standards that ensure sustainable practices, and delivers processes that enable adaptation to a changing environment.

“We will also ensure a fair return to New Zealanders through the use of marine space for marine farming. The changes will ensure that none of these benefits come at the expense of sustainability.

“We have one of the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zones, with a marine area more than 15 times larger than New Zealand’s land area. That means we can gain the benefits of a thriving, sustainable aquaculture sector while allocating a relatively small part of our marine environment to marine farming.

“A strong and sustainable aquaculture sector also give us more choices about how we produce seafood in New Zealand as well as options to reduce environmental pressures from other, existing, fishing practices.

“I look forward to working together with all New Zealanders, including tangata whenua, industry, workers and local communities, to ensure reforms of the RMA keep this important and sustainable sector moving in the right direction,” said Minister Parker.

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