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Marine Farming: a threat to every sailor

Today Yachting New Zealand made a significant and full submission to the New Zealand Government. The submission is part of our advocacy against plans for the unimpeded and accelerated growth of aquaculture in all of the places 1.5 million New Zealanders want to go boating.

Our freedom of navigation in the coastal marine area, and access to sheltered bays for both enjoyment and safety can no longer be taken for granted.

In the next 15 years, marine farming intends to increase its turnover by almost 300%. This ambitious goal will have the most significant affect in Northland, Coromandel, Marlborough, Banks Peninsula and Stewart Island. The visual and environmental affects will negatively affect water-based tourism and New Zealand’s 100% Pure image, and sailors will no longer take for granted the freedoms enjoyed for generations. The present protection afforded to the Hauraki Gulf by the ARC may not be continued in the regulatory changes being proposed.

“Plans currently being finalised by the Government ignore the coastal marine area as a public space and the traditional freedoms of New Zealanders to enjoy the adventure and enterprise it has always offered. They also ignore the importance of marine tourism which is very much a part of New Zealand’s attractiveness to overseas visitors. Yachting campaigns have for many years significantly contributed to or were part of campaigns to promote destination New Zealand. The boating industry also depends upon people being attracted to the sea and buying boats,” states the Submission.

Yachting New Zealand asks for a common sense approach that acknowledges and respects the rights of all water users, whilst giving aquaculture the opportunity it needs to grow and be a contributor to the economy. Some key recommendations of the document are:

• Marine farms should be located in low-interest areas of our coastline - areas which have little recreational or tourism value YNZ’s preferred solution is to prudently simplify the current approach while encouraging the Aquaculture industry to focus its efforts on branding and growing high value species in low-interest areas of the coastal marine area.
• If major changes are to be made, then it is YNZ’s clear preference to engage in a consultative and mediated approach rather than through litigation. In our experience greater certainty is desired by most parties.
• It should be possible with consultation and mediation to accommodate planned growth in aquaculture without compromising safety, recreational interests, environmental values, and the sustainable commercial activities of the marine and tourism industries.

“This is a major issue that affects all New Zealand water users,” says Yachting New Zealand Chief Executive Des Brennan. “Yachting New Zealand has been working diligently and collaboratively to represent boating interests to Government, and the more voices raised in support the better. Please pay close to attention as the issue evolves over the summer, and get involved in campaigns to preserve an important part of New Zealand’s heritage. YNZ is not against Aquaculture. We simply want its location to be well away from where boaties recreate. We want to preserve these areas for future generations.”

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