Talley’s and others have made an application to significantly extend the mussel farm in the North East arm of Port Underwood. This is to join together three separate mussel farms into one large farm extending over 14 hectares. The Association did not support this application for the following reasons:
- The proposal represents unacceptable expansion into the mid bay area of Port Underwood;
- The proposal will, by jutting out from Gorse Bay, be a hazard to navigation;
- The expansion of the farms will create marine farm structures extending 450 to 550 meters which is far in excess of the current discretionary distance of 200 meters in the current resource management plan;
- The analysis by the applicant omits the influence on phytoplankton of other neighbouring marine farms giving only a partial analysis of the depletion rates;
- It is not understood how any applications can be approved without research on the environmental impacts of marine farms. The Port Underwood Association submits that Marlborough District Council has an obligation to ensure the sustainable management of the costal marine area and this obligation cannot be met without understanding the environmental impact of marine farms;
- The Department of Conservation 2003 discussion paper on mussel farming noted several environmental impacts caused by mussel farming. These do not seem to have been taken into account in the application;
- The application has not undertaken any study into the impacts of sulphides or ammonia nor the level of oxygen depletion caused by mussel farms. The Association suggestion that the application cannot be approved without research into these matters;
- There is a lack of clarity regarding the species that are to be farmed. The Port Underwood Association submits that any application should make it clear what it is proposed to farm.
- The Port Underwood Association submits that further research is required on the impact upon red algae beds prior to approval of the application; and
- There are a number of errors in the maps showing the area to be farmed.
Our response is enclosed.