On Monday there was a press release revealing the council ambitions for a $300m aquaculture industry by 2030. On Friday, submissions close for the first step in this programme – a resource consent application from Waingaroa Fisheries Company Ltd to erect finfish farming structures, primarily for kingfish, in Owanga Bay, Whangaroa Harbour.
We want to invite you to take a moment to engage with the decisions our council is making about our future and consider the implications of this scale of aquaculture in Northland’s natural harbours.
Is there a better way forward for Northland?
Have the risks to the environment been properly assessed? How do you feel about public recreational space being converted to private commercial enterprise? Are there case studies to show that this kind of farming is beneficial to communities?
These are just a few of the questions that need answering.
If you would like to make a submission opposing the Whangaroa marine farm application, you need to do so now. You can find some key points below to consider for inclusion in your submission and also a blank form. There is also a fin fish “circular” posted by the Whangaroa Maritime Recreational Park steering group which outlines their concerns.
The location and types of farming proposed in the application are not considered to be appropriate by many and could be challenged on the following grounds:
1. The site restricts access to the eastern arm of the harbour and the only water source in a well-used part of the harbour, particularly in the summer.
2. The proposed farm visually and environmentally breaches what is one of the most beautiful and magnificent deep water harbours in the North Island. It would significantly degrade the current high natural character of a part of the harbour that does not have any existing fish farming.
3. Kingfish farming - which is the stated use – has been tried and failed elsewhere in NZ and overseas.
4. There is a high risk of pollution of the harbour and outside bay and coast – given the tides.
5. It would contribute to the enrichment and other pollution of Whangaroa through the discharge of nutrient rich fishmeal to carnivorous finfish.
6. The application conflicts with the proposed Whangaroa Maritime Recreational Park which is supported by the majority of the community.
7. In spite of what the application says, we understand that Tangata Whenua through marae and hapu in the rohe are opposed to the application and that many members of the community, including adjacent landowners, have not been consulted.
8. The earnings and risk need to be judged against the possible impact on tourism.