Major aquaculture legislation reform that creates the platform for aquaculture to become a $1 billion industry by 2025 takes effect on 1 October 2011 says Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Phil Heatley.
“Aquaculture requires only a small fraction of our coastal space, but it has the potential to be a huge boost to our economy,” says Mr Heatley.
“This legislation returns us to a consents-based regime that levels the playing field for aquaculture development. At the same time, the new legislation puts safeguards in place to better manage coastal space and ensure development can only occur within environmental limits,” Mr Heatley says.
While primary responsibility for aquaculture planning and consenting remains with local authorities, the legislation also allows central government to take a more active role in supporting sustainable aquaculture.
The Government’s principal advisor on aquaculture issues, the MAF Aquaculture Unit will continue to serve as an important resource for local authorities, iwi, environmental interests, the aquaculture industry, and other stakeholders.
“The legislation also ensures that the Crown will be able to deliver on the M?ori Commercial Aquaculture Claims Settlement. Under the legislation, the Crown will enter into regional agreements with iwi to deliver the settlement,” Mr Heatley says.
In regions where it is anticipated interest in aquaculture development will be high, the Government may hold space through a Gazette notice process to create future settlement options.
“This is critical if the Crown is to negotiate full and meaningful agreements with iwi,” says Mr Heatley.
Space has already been gazetted in Northland, Waikato (East), and Marlborough where interest in aquaculture development is expected to be greatest in the immediate future.
“When this Government came into office we signalled that we would create a framework that fosters environmentally sustainable aquaculture development while balancing that development with the environment and other coastal uses. This new legislative regime achieves that and will help position us well to meet the growing worldwide demand for high quality aquaculture products,” Mr Heatley says.