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AMA Firth of Thames Apr 2005

Western Firth of Thames Aquaculture Management Area

Marine Farm Action Committee

  April 2005


Latest Report

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

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).

[One consortium 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
Kathy Walsh kjwalsh@xtra.co.nz  
ARC contacts    
Alan Moore 09 366 2000 ext 7058  
James Fuller 09 366 2000 ext 8126  




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