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Factors Controlling the Development of the Aquaculture Industry in New Zealand: Legislative Reform and Social Carrying Capacity

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The New Zealand aquaculture sector, consisting of mainly mussel, oyster, and salmon farmers, has been expanding over the last two decades. The increasing demand for water space for marine farming has prompted a process of community consultation and legislative reform resulting in the Aquaculture Reform Act 2004. Despite efforts to develop more effective legislation and improve the application process, marine farmers have often been relatively unsuccessful at gaining the water space that they desire for the expansion of the industry. However, social factors such as landscape and amenity values, recreational and navigational use, and alienation of public space are the most frequently cited reasons for the refusal of marine farm consent applications. An analysis of resource consent decision records from the past decade demonstrates this conclusion that the main factor limiting the further expansion of the aquaculture industry in New Zealand is the social carrying capacity, in the context of a period of legislative transition.

Keywords: New Zealand; aquaculture industry; mussel farming; social carrying capacity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand,Marine Affairs and Policy Division, University of Miami RSMAS, Miami, Florida, USA 2: Cawthron Institute, Nelson, New Zealand

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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