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There are about 590 marine farms in Marlborough. Photo / Chloe Ranford, LDR

NZ - Swimmers, boaties muscle out Marlborough mussel farms in prime recreational spots

Plans to free up prime swim spots in the Marlborough Sounds could force mussel farms further from shore.

Marine farmers will need to leave another swimming pool's worth of space between their farms and the shoreline under the region's new aquaculture rules, in what one report estimates will cost up to $3000 a farm.

The change is one of several proposed under the region's new aquaculture chapter, released in November, almost a year after the rest of the Marlborough District Council's new environment plan was published.

Most of the 590 marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds are located between 50 metres and 200m of the shoreline, in what is referred to as the "coastal ribbon".

An artist's impression shows the proposed new rules, right, will force some mussel farms further into the Marlborough Sounds. Image / Supplied, MDC
An artist's impression shows the proposed new rules, right, will force some mussel farms further into the Marlborough Sounds. Image / Supplied, MDC

The new chapter suggested widening the ribbon, moving it further from shore, and dividing it into "aquaculture management areas" where marine farming was legal.

Farms outside these aquaculture management areas would be deemed "inappropriate", aside from those in the ocean, meaning their licence could not be renewed.

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