[30 January/ Business Day: NZ Farmer]

Tenders are open for the first time for water space in the North Island’s first fish farming zone; the Coromandel Marine Farming Zone, a 300 hectare are in the Firth of Thames, west of Coromandel Town.  The Waikato Regional Council says that the 240 hectares that are up for tender could bring in $50 million of revenue while others question the risk and idea of raising fish in cages.  Many in the Coromandel see aquaculture as one of the regions two growth areas (the other being tourism) but officials also highlighted the need to ensure that any tender intends to operate sustainably before they will be granted a resource consent.  A representative of the aquaculture industry in the region questioned the level of likely interest given that process is simply offering people the opportunity to tender for the right to apply for a resource consent.  Coromandel Green MP, Catherine Delahunty, said she was surprised the farming proposal had been raised again, adding people in the region would prefer to see the environment looked after and fisheries managed to ensure that there are sufficient wild fish.