Media release issued by Ministry for Primary IndustriesThe Waikato will have greater clarity on where to locate future aquaculture developments, and improved guidance for aquaculture monitoring after two applications to the Aquaculture Planning Fund were given the green light.
The Waikato Regional Council has received $250,000 to assist with the development of a model that will identify areas best suited to marine farming activities, or where they may be in conflict with other coastal activities. The model will predict the impacts of fish farm waste, nitrogen discharge from fish farms and potential disease risks. Both the council and industry will benefit from improved decision making on coastal planning, including the selection of new sites for marine farms. The model will be ready in 2014 and information will be freely available to the public and other councils around the country.
A separate application saw a further $90,000 allocated to address the region’s environmental monitoring requirements. The council is developing a regional monitoring framework to successfully manage the level of environmental change associated with the development of fish farming and the anticipated increase in shellfish farming in the region. The approach is designed to assist new and existing aquaculture by providing clear guidance on environmental quality objectives, monitoring and reporting methods and standards for the Waikato region. The outcome will be a comprehensive, practical guidance document for the aquaculture industry.
Kathy Mansell, Director Aquaculture, Growth and Innovation of MPI said: “Aquaculture is a growing industry with huge growth potential and known environmental impacts. Through the Aquaculture Planning Fund we want to support economically and environmentally sustainable growth. Both applications received by the Waikato Regional Council have demonstrated economic, environmental and social benefits – these are some of the criteria required in the application process. We are delighted to support Waikato get on track to contribute to aquaculture development and the long-term health of our coastal waters through well managed and properly monitored coastal plans."
The Aquaculture Planning Fund was set up in 2012 to help regional councils with the costs of coastal planning for aquaculture in accordance with the Resource Management Act and the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010. So far it has approved three applications, with a combined value of $890,000 alongside an even higher level of council funding. It has $750,000 of funding available to councils each year up until 2014 when this drops to $450,000 per year.
Applications for 2013 are currently open until 19 April and the Ministry for Primary Industries urges councils to consider how the fund could support their needs and to submit an application. Applications can be found online at the MPI website.