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Marlborough salmon relocation


30 November 2020 – Progress of alternative relocation proposal

Fisheries New Zealand is still waiting for further technical reports before it gives advice to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries. Fisheries New Zealand has asked New Zealand King Salmon and representatives of some Marlborough iwi to provide an update on when a final complete proposal will be provided. Once the status of the proposal is confirmed we will provide the Minister with advice on options for proceeding.

15 July 2019 – Alternative proposal received

On 12 June 2019, Fisheries New Zealand received an updated proposal for salmon farm relocation in the Marlborough Sounds from New Zealand King Salmon and representatives of some Marlborough iwi.

The proposal focuses on options to address matters considered by the independent Marlborough Sounds Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel that led to it not recommending the Waitata Mid-Channel site for salmon farming. While the proposal received outlines a revised approach, Fisheries New Zealand is awaiting further technical reports before advice is given to the Minister of Fisheries.

Fisheries New Zealand will publish the proposal in full once it has been received and advice has been provided to the Minister of Fisheries on options for proceeding. Further public comment will be sought if the revised proposal is considered further and it is significantly different to the proposal consulted on previously.

3 May 2019 – Progress of relocation proposal

In 2018, the Minister of Fisheries released a report and recommendations from the Marlborough Sounds Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel on whether to relocate 6 salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

When he released the report, the minister advised that he would meet with key parties in the relocation process before making a decision on how to proceed.

As a result of these discussions, New Zealand King Salmon and Marlborough iwi were encouraged to work together and were provided the opportunity to submit an updated proposal.

Fisheries New Zealand will consider their detailed information when it is received and then provide further advice to the Minister of Fisheries on how to proceed with the broader relocation proposal.

Further public comment will be sought if a revised proposal is put forward by New Zealand King Salmon and iwi that is significantly different to that consulted on previously.

14 February 2018 – Panel report released

The Minister of Fisheries has publically released the report and recommendations from the Marlborough Sounds Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel for the relocation of salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

The advisory panel considered written submissions and held hearings in April and May 2017 on a proposal to relocate up to 6 existing consented salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds to more environmentally suitable sites.

The Minister will consider the panel's report and further advice from MPI. A decision on the relocation proposal is not likely to be made until the second half of 2018.

31 July 2017 – Further independent legal advice sought by the Panel

13 June 2017 – Panel Report will now be provided to Minister by 31 July 2017

The Minister for Primary Industries has accepted a request from the Marlborough Sounds Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel for more time to prepare its written report and recommendations on the public comments and proposed regulations. The report will now be provided to the Minister by 31 July 2017. The Minister will make the report and recommendations public after the Minister has considered the report.

6 June 2017 – Further independent legal advice sought by the Panel

22 May 2017 – Right of reply documents and presentations

16 May 2017 – Questions for independent legal advice

The Panel has asked MPI to obtain independent legal advice on some legal comments made by the Environmental Defence Society, the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc, Friends of Nelson Haven and Tasman Bay, and Tony Black.

12 May 2017 – Panel minute, expert meeting notes and presentations

The Panel has provided an opportunity for MPI and/or NZ King Salmon to respond to 4 particular issues on the 22 May 2017. These issues may potentially have significance in the decision-making process.

9 May 2017 – Notes from the consultation hearings

Notes from expert witnesses on the topic of landscape for the meeting on Tuesday 9 May, and on the topic of economics for the meeting on Wednesday 10 May have been published. Notes on the topic of king shag for the meeting on Monday 15 May will be published when available.

5 May 2017 – Date change for meeting of expert witnesses

The Marlborough Salmon Farm Relocation Advisory Panel has updated timing and dates for meetings of expert witnesses in response to the Forest and Bird Protection Society memorandum, dated 1 May 2017.

27 April 2017 – Notice on contacting the hearings facilitator

All persons/organisations recorded as wanting to be heard have now been contacted. If you stated in your written comment that you wished to be heard but have not been contacted, email or call the Hearings Facilitator as soon as possible.

Hearings Facilitator: Louise Walker
Phone: 021 0272 0973

20 April 2017 – Panel meetings of expert witnesses

The Marlborough Salmon Farm Relocations Advisory Panel will hold meetings of expert witnesses in relation to certain issues.

Information about the timing, issues, experts and meeting process [PDF, 566 KB]

13 April 2017 – Public hearings

Information about the public hearings has moved to a separate 'hearings' page where you'll find:

  • the whole of government and expert planner's presentations given on 10 April
  • a Cawthron Institute report on salmon farm effects on king shag (a supplementary report to the whole of government presentation)
  • other daily presentations and transcripts from the public hearings
  • weekly hearing schedules.

7 April 2017 – Summary of written comments and factual report available

To assist people in preparing for public hearings, MPI has released a summary of written comments of those received during the consultation, including late comments, which closed on 27 March 2017. A brief factual report has also been provided. Both the summary and factual report have been independently written by MWH, now part of Stantec.

4 April 2017 – Written comments available

MPI has released the written comments received from the public and iwi authorities during the consultation, which closed on 27 March 2017.

31 March 2017 – Public hearings

The Marlborough Salmon Farm Relocations Advisory Panel will hold hearings in Blenheim during April and May 2017. The hearings are a chance for the public and iwi authorities to speak to their written comments on the proposals. Those who indicated they wished to be heard will be contacted to arrange a suitable time and date. Anyone is welcome to attend and listen to the hearings.

After the hearings, the panel will provide a report and recommendations to the Minister for Primary Industries on the comments received through this consultation process on the proposed regulations.

14 March 2017 – Errata

Following review, some minor errors and inconsistencies were identified in the consultation document and the Summary assessment of environmental effects (AEE) document.

The errata provide corrections for the areas (shown as hectares) of an existing farm and potential relocation sites.

All technical reports' findings (AEE reports) remain valid as they were based on the correct figures. These errors do not have an impact on the rest of the AEE and consultation document.

Full details are in the errata documents:

Consultation closed

Until 27 March 2017, the Minister for Primary Industries sought your views on a proposal to amend the Marlborough Sounds resource management plan to enable relocation of up to 6 salmon farms.

Relocation is being considered as a way to:

  • ensure the environmental outcomes from salmon farming are improved through implementation of benthic (seabed) best management practice
  • potentially improve the social and cultural outcomes from salmon farming by creating jobs
  • move salmon farms away from areas of high-competing use
  • maintain or increase the economic benefits from salmon farming.

This proposal provides for industry growth through more efficient use of marine farming space, rather than from creating additional new space. In short, it’s about getting better outcomes from the same amount of space. The extent of benefits would depend on the number of farms relocated and the sites they move to, which is why the Minister wants to hear your views.

Consultation was open from 26 January 2017 until 27 March 2017. Public drop-ins were held during the consultation period.

Consultation documents

Related documents

Background to the proposal

It's important to the Government, iwi, the public, and the aquaculture industry that the effects of salmon farming on the marine environment are managed well. A key step was developing the Best management practice guidelines for salmon farming in the Marlborough Sounds: Benthic environmental quality standards and monitoring protocol (benthic guidelines).

The guidelines provide a framework, endorsed by the community, science experts and industry leaders, to ensure effective monitoring and management of the effects of salmon farming on the seabed. The Marlborough District Council, the Ministry for Primary Industries, and NZ King Salmon are committed to implementing the benthic guidelines at all of NZ King Salmon's farms.

Download the benthic best practice guidelines [PDF, 1.6 MB]

Six of 11 farms identified for relocation

NZ King Salmon has resource consents for 11 salmon farms within the Marlborough Sounds. There are 6 consented salmon farms in lower-flow areas, and these will have difficulty complying with the guidelines without significantly reducing production. The Minister proposes relocating some or all of the 6 farms.

The potential relocation of these farms to sites where the water is deeper and has higher flows would provide for a more sustainable, productive, and resilient industry without increasing the total amount of surface space occupied by salmon farm structures.

Salmon farms to be considered for relocation

Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound:

  • Ruakaka Bay
  • Otanerau

Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound:

  • Forsyth Bay
  • Waihinau Bay
  • Crail Bay (2 farms). The Crail Bay sites have not been stocked since 2011.

Potential salmon farm relocation sites

Te Hoiere/Pelorus Sound:

  • Blowhole Point North
  • Blowhole Point South
  • Waitata Mid-Channel
  • Horseshoe Bay
  • Richmond Bay South

Kura Te Au/Tory Channel:

  • Tio Point

Map 1 – Existing & Potential Relocation Sites, Te Hōiere/Pelorus Sound – updated 26 April 2017 [PDF, 1.4 MB]
Map 2 - Existing Potential Relocation Sites TotaranuiQueen Charlotte Sound - updated 26 April 2017 [PDF, 8.1 MB]

Find out more

Public drop-ins

Drop-in meetings were held during the consultation in Havelock, Blenheim, Picton, Nelson, Portage and Waitaria Bay.

Written comments are public information

Any written comments you make becomes public information. Anyone can ask for copies of all written comments under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we must make the information available unless we have a good reason for withholding it. You can find those grounds in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA. Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your written comment. Reasons might include, it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may require the information be released.

Questions and answers

Find out more

Technical Reports – Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEEs)


Landscape values

Benthic (seabed)

Social values, noise

Cultural values

Economic values

Marine mammals

Pelagic fish, underwater lighting


Tourism and Recreation




Water quality, discharges (greywater, copper and zinc)