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Suppliers Keen to See Salmon Farm Grow

14 August 2013

NEW ZEALAND - Some Marlborough companies are hoping for a boom in business after the High Court rejected the appeal against New Zealand King Salmon being given resource consents for four new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

However King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne said growth could be delayed by further appeals to the Supreme Court: "putting us under pressure and jobs under pressure to the point of being ridiculous."

The Marlborough Express reports, High Court judge Justice Robert Dobson released his decision on Thursday (8 August), rejecting appeals by Sustain Our Sounds and the Environmental Defence Society.

Mr Rosewarne said King Salmon could have farms stocked with fish by August next year and harvested a year later. However, an appeal would delay progress by at least three months.

The company had already written off NZ$400,000 of fish this year, he said. These were bred before the Environmental Protection Authority required the company to do one to two years of monitoring before stocking new farms.

New fish pens built by Cuddon Engineering in Blenheim for a planned farm at White Horse Rock were not used, he said. This farm was turned down two years ago and again at the EPA hearing.

"All these things create uncertainty, cost us dearly and ultimately cost jobs," Mr Rosewarne said.

As world demand for salmon increased, King Salmon was having to reduce production as it changed farming methods to a biosecure approach aimed at reducing the risk of fish pests and disease.

"We only have 6000 tonnes of salmon to sell when we had about 7500 tonnes two years ago." Probably half the salmon sold in Blenheim supermarkets came from Stewart Island where they were grown by another company, he said.

Meanwhile, Johnson's Barge Service owner-manager Jennie Johnson said if the two farms approved for Pelorus Sound were both built, her business would have to expand.

"It is really the backbone of our business," she said. "We are really keen to see them grow and get alongside them with that growth."

Johnson's Barge Service relied on King Salmon and logging work and if either or both had a downturn, "it's a serious problem for us."

Cuddon Engineering chief executive Andy Rowe said the company had been building farms for King Salmon for 20 years and was confident of gaining a portion of any new work.

Mr Rosewarne said King Salmon was already working on new farm designs with Cuddon, including additional pens.

Other developments included transporting fish in stainless steel tanks on trucks instead of bins which would mean developing a Marlborough depot, probably in Picton.

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