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An open letter

to the shareholders in Ohinau Aquaculture Ltd, Peter Bull, mussel farmer and Joe Davis, Kaumatua, Kaitiaki (representing Ngati Hei)

Peter Bull, relatively sheltered at Coromandel and on the west coast, you might not have experienced quite such ferocious conditions in the storms that have lashed the east coast.

Joe Davis, you would have watched, from Ngati Hei Marae, the awe inspiring, roaring maelstrom of enormous waves breaking far out across Mercury Bay, and seen the destruction caused by the power of the sea in these storms.

That the waves could have exhumed the remains of Puhiwai Rangi, the huge sperm whale covered in the sand in front of the marae, and washed it more than a kilometre along Wharekaho Beach, is testament to their power.

I wonder if any, or all of you, have any worries about what such a huge pummelling would have done to the 30 hectare mussel spat farm, stretching across northern Mercury Bay from The Twins to Round Island, for which Ohinau Aquaculture Ltd has resource consent.

The beaches are already littered with debris. Add to that the potential of damage to, or destruction of, the spat farm structure with some of the 800 buoys, 26,000 metres of plastic backbone ropes, up to 700,000 m of dropper lines secured with up to 15,000 m of six mm ties, being washed ashore on this beautiful coast or floating in the sea. The clean-up would be immense and possibly take years.

Ohinau Aquaculture Ltd might not be concerned, but I speak for many people in Mercury Bay who certainly are. The benefits to this community, if the untrialled venture is commercially successful, (three to ten jobs, most seasonal, and some income for iwi) are far outweighed by the potential for an environmental disaster.

Can you hear us on this? Can you enter into discussion on this? Are you prepared to change your mind?

Anne Stewart


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