The NZ Ministry of Fisheries has just released the findings and recommendations of an investigation carried out by a special panel into the proposed establishment of a 300 Hectare aquaculture project in the Hauraki Gulf, on the rhumb line between Auckland and Coromandel.
Despite being warned of the potential for boats running into the structures during darkness and / or bad weather the panel simply came to the conclusion that safe navigation was the responsibility of the skipper. They have ignored the fact that the zone will not appear on any charts until after the structures are in the water and that many people only replace their charts after many years.
For those using electronic charts the zone will appear to be open water. Details of the panel's findings can be found on -: www.fish.govt.nz/Aquaculture
Reform/Regional Plan Changes
The panel explained that they could suggest the aquaculture project could be placed anywhere in New Zealand and so it is difficult to understand why this particular site has been chosen. The panel also ignored the effect of commercial installations in the Gulf might have on the valuable cruising yacht industry although they did recognise that to create a job in the aquaculture industry at the expense of one in the boating industry did not make sense.
The zone will still have to pass an RMA application process.