Government Eases Burden on Marine Farms with New Bill

The Coalition Government is stepping up to give New Zealand’s aquaculture industry the certainty it needs to thrive, according to Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones.

A new Bill, which passed its first reading in Parliament today, aims to extend current resource consents for marine farms by up to 20 years. This move is set to lift a major burden from the aquaculture industry, providing long-term stability for marine farms.

“The current resource consent process is complicated, costly and time-consuming. Removing this unnecessary red tape through the Resource Management (Extended Duration of Coastal Permits for Marine Farms) Amendment Bill will give marine farmers greater confidence to invest in improvements, new technology, species and practices to make them more productive and sustainable,” says Jones.

There are about 1200 marine farms needing resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991. Around 200 of these will need to renew their consents by the end of 2024.

These farms face renewal costs of $20,000 to $100,000, with the process taking about six months on average.

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“Aquaculture is incredibly important for New Zealand. It provides jobs in the regions and contributes to our export-led recovery. One of my priorities is to remove barriers to the growth of aquaculture,” says Jones.

“In 2023, aquaculture generated $575 million in export revenue and employed 3225 people. The money the aquaculture industry spends on reconsenting, estimated to be $6m for 2024 alone, will be much better spent on employing more Kiwis, developing new technology and investing in the future of the industry.”

These reforms, only for existing consents, aim to be enacted by July. Public consultation will occur during the select committee stage in June.

The extensions are capped at 2050, with provisions for councils to review extended consents.

The consent process for new marine farms will also be reviewed as part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to reforming the Resource Management Act.

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