New Zealand proposes new environmental standard for aquaculture

Published on
June 15, 2017

A proposed environmental standard for marine aquaculture in New Zealand that aims to make re-consenting existing marine farms more consistent and efficient has been released for consultation by the country’s Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr. Nick Smith.

“The aquaculture industry is an important part of New Zealand’s diversified primary industry, earning NZD 500 million (USD 365.5 million, EUR 324.1 million) a year and employing over 3,000 people. This proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture is needed to increase certainty and industry confidence, improve biosecurity management and reduce compliance costs,” said Guy.

“The problem this new environmental standard addresses is the bow wave of 750 nationwide marine farms, or about 64 percent of the industry, coming up for re-consenting in the next seven years. This is compounded by each council having different processes and rules and these processes and rules being changed with plan updates. This new environmental standard will save marine farmers tens of millions of dollars in consent renewals and ensure a more consistent approach to regulation of the industry.”

The new standard is part of the government’s plan for improving New Zealand’s resource management system by taking a more consistent national approach. It follows other national regulations for telecommunications, electricity transmission, contamination of soil, pest control, water metering, forestry and stock exclusion from waterways. 

These national regulations enable better environmental outcomes, greater certainty and less cost for industry, said Smith.

“The particular gains from this aquaculture environment standard are the consistent regulations for biosecurity, greater flexibility for changes of species and enabling most replacement consents to be processed by councils as non-notified restricted discretionary activities.

“We encourage the public, industry and iwi to consider these proposals and give feedback to help us get this single set of rules right,” he said.

The closing date to submit feedback on the proposal is 8 August 2017, and if progressed, the new standard would come into effect in 2018.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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