Firth of Thames Aquaculture Management Area
Farm Action Committee
Some of the Auckland Regional
Councils (ARC) councillors have visited the Seabird Coast on the
Western shores of the Firth of Thames twice in February this year.
The first was to the ARC managed parks. Accompanying them was an
Auckland harbourmasters vessel, that was positioned 5 nautical miles
offshore - the distance from land the ARC staff have indicated in
their Constraints Mapping exercise that any new Aquaculture Management
Areas (AMA's) may be located. This was done to see how much could
be seen from the shoreline, which apparently was very little.
The concern of the Marine
Farm Action Committee (MFAC) is that although that maybe the case
from sea level, many of our residents living on elevated sites,
visitors to elevated areas in the Regional Parks and Hunua Ranges
and the views from hillside subdivisions (existing and proposed),
this would not be so and any large scale aquaculture developments
and their service vessels, would in fact have a big visual impact.
Also the residents from
Orere Point and Ponui Island are very concerned as from some elevations
they can already see the large Wilson's Bay AMA on the Coromandel
side of the Firth, (currently 250 hectares is farmed with a further
750 hectares granted by Environment Waikato and under application
for marine farming development).
of applicants has applied for 4,300 hectares on the Western side
of the Firth. This area is under ARC management and they are currently
in the process of undertaking a Constraints Mapping exercise. As
a result of this, the latest information indicated that the available
unconstrained water space under consideration for potential AMA's
was approximately 2,500 hectares.]
In February the MFAC helped
facilitate a visit with ARC, Franklin District Council, and tangata
whenua representatives to the site of the area under consideration.
This was to raise awareness of the many related environmental, social
and economic issues/pressures facing the coast and see the sheer
scale of the proposals in relation to the existing 45 hectare marine
farming area at Waimangu Point.
The ARC are due to
hold Public Meetings in Kaiaua , Orere Point on Saturday
May 7, and Wednesday 11 May at Kawakawa Bay. This is to update the
community regarding the latest information collected in Stage 3
of their Constraints Mapping exercise and to give the Public
some indication of the area that they may potentially notify for
AMA's. This will then go before the ARC Councillors and
the proposed schedule is to notify any new AMA areas on the Western
shores of the Firth some time in July this year for public submission.
The MFAC urge the
residents of the Seabird Coast, adjacent communities and interested
groups to attend the upcoming Public Meetings and strongly voice
any concerns they may have. This issue has been facing
us for 4 years now (since Thames Mussels Limited's initial application
for 1000 hectares for Mussel Spat collection back in 2001) and it
is only because of the voice, actions and submissions of the Seabird
Coast residents and neighbouring coastal communities, that our Coastal
Marine Area has not been turned into a gigantic industrialised zone.
|Marine Farm Action Committee
||09 366 2000
||09 366 2000