Commentary

Sea Shepherd NZ oppose King Salmon’s open ocean factory farm

Monday, Aug 03, 2020

Sea Shepherd New Zealand oppose the creation of an open ocean factory farm 7km north of Cape Lambert, Marlborough.

In July 2019 King Salmon lodged resource consent for New Zealand's first open ocean farm covering a 1792-hectare site with Marlborough District Council (MDC).  King Salmon New Zealand did not offer to close down any of their problematic inshore farms.

Sea Shepherd believes the proposed activity has potential to cause significant adverse effects on the marine environment and in particular to have detrimental effects on:

•             ecosystems, habitats and species
•             sea water quality
•             marine mammals, sharks and seabirds
•             natural character.

King Salmon factory farm complex in Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound

There is growing concern globally regarding the polluting industry that is salmon farming. The increasing controversy has seen opposition intensify in British Columbia, Norway, Chile, Tasmania and now New Zealand. 

During the public submission process earlier this year Sea Shepherd pointed to the raft of reports published since 2012 which highlight continued issues with the environmental impacts of King Salmon farms. These include disease, pollution and breaches of the Fair-Trading Act.
 
Marlborough District Council’s own report found three of five farms monitored failed to meet voluntary environmental guidelines agreed to by the company and the council. Their report describes the seabed under King Salmon’s farm at Forsyth Bay as heavily polluted and almost devoid of life. There is no indication that the offshore farms will be a significant improvement. 

Lesions on a salmon infected by Tenacibaculum maritimum. Photo: MPI

Given the history of such breaches we urged MDC to take a precautionary approach and decline the application in fill. As a district council their role under the RMA (Resource Management Act) is to sustainably manage resources for their residents. To approve such application would be irresponsible given the history of the foreign company’s acts of non-compliance and contrary to MDC’s own mission statement. If permitted this could set a dangerous precedent for further expansion around coastal and offshore New Zealand. 

Sea Shepherd NZ acknowledges King Salmon contacted us earlier in 2019 to ask for feedback. We believe this to be a cynical move by a foreign entity to “tick boxes” and pretend they have engaged with New Zealand environmental groups. As a registered New Zealand Charity our policy is not to negotiate with known marine polluters and instead we have chosen to direct our concerns to the relevant authority that can halt the application.

Salmon farms attract marine wildlife such as seals, dolphins and seabirds

Sea Shepherd is concerned that if given the go-ahead King Salmon will further continue to spread their known environment problems around coastline of New Zealand.

Watch our video below. We also recommend a video made by the late Danny Boulton regarding the effects of King Salmon’s  farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

Suffocating the Sounds, NZ King Salmon”. Directed and produced by Danny Boulton (2012).
 

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