Waiheke-based environmental group Protect Our Gulf is calling for extreme caution from the Waikato Regional Council as it considers granting consent to a controversial fin-fish farm in the Hauraki Gulf. In a three-day hearing held last week, Protect Our Gulf chair Shirin Brown and fellow member Kathy Voyles presented the group’s argument that there were too many uncertainties around the farm’s environmental impact for it to go ahead – but if the council was going to do so, a careful and closely monitored four-stage development was the only responsible way.

Pare Hauraki Kaimoana lodged a resource consent application with the Waikato Regional Council in 2020. The proposed fish farm would operate in the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone, 11 kilometres east of Waiheke. Environmental groups have criticised the application in public submissions for its potential impact on the marine life and seabed of an already environmentally strained Hauraki Gulf. A series of independent reviews by the council also found gaps in the initial application around uncertainties about the environmental impact  and lack of a detailed environmental management plan. • Paul Mitchell

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