Marlborough fish research facility riles residents


Residents of a small Marlborough Sounds community say they're disappointed a multinational company has been given the green light for a new fish feeding research facility to be built on their shore.

Okiwi Bay will soon have tonnes of discharged water pumped into the bay, but it may not be as bad as they think.

The clear blue water of Okiwi Bay is a popular spot for holidaymakers and a slice of heaven for residents.

But there are fears their heaven could be contaminated after seafood company Skretting was granted resource consent to pump wastewater into the sea.

Residents protested the proposal earlier this year, and lodged 209 submissions opposing the plant.

The facility will be comprised of 12 large tanks to research the feeding patterns of chinook salmon.

Up to 20 kilograms a day, thats over seven tonnes a year, of fishfeed containing nitrogen and phosphorous would be discharged into the bay.

The residents' main concerns were around water quality for swimming, something marine biologist, and plant supporter, Mark Burdass says sophisticated filtration will mitigate.

The consent has a number of conditions, including:

-decibel restrictions

-discharge stipulations including temperature and pH level

-and increasing the pipe discharge point from 133m offshore, to 200m offshore

But Greenhough says King Salmon farms in the area have been accused of not complying with their consents, and fears the Skretting facility could do the same

Residents say they don't have the funds to appeal the decision.

Consent's granted until 2034; it's now up to Skretting to proceed or not.