Aquaculture and Fisheries within Nelson Bays

This page has information about the management and of aquaculture and fisheries in the Tasman District. Our environment offers a productive area for aquaculture, dredge fishing for shellfish and trawling or long line fishing for finfish.


Aquaculture has the potential to provide significant employment within the District from the sustainable use of sea space. However, it is a public commons and care needs to be taken in the development and management of aquaculture.  

The activity is controlled by the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) which enables the opportunity for aquaculture and indicates where it is appropriate and where it is not. Zoning areas for aquaculture (and prohibiting it elsewhere) addresses the potential impact of aquaculture on natural character, landscape, public access, ecological, recreational, amenity values and those values important to tangata whenua iwi.

Suitability of 'Feed Added' Fish Farming - Golden and Tasman Bays

Changes to the Tasman Resource Management Plan as part of the 2011 aquaculture law reforms enable consent applications to be made to farm a range of new species. This includes additive species in certain areas that are currently zoned for mussel farming, subject to receiving authorisation to do so through a tender process.

The following NIWA science reports were prepared to ascertain the current potential for additive species within the aquaculture management areas (AMAs)[1] of Tasman Bay and Golden Bay. These reports model the physical parameters, sustainability and wider nutrient implications of possible additive aquaculture in Tasman. The NIWA science reports are technical documents and the results from the model simulations are complex, but should assist in building our understanding of the potential for future aquaculture development.

The AMAs identified in the Tasman Resource Management Plan were selected for their suitability for farming filter-feeding species. The depth profiles and physical characteristics of these AMAs are not highly compatible with the current practice of additive aquaculture which generally requires deeper waters and higher flow rates than filter-fed aquaculture. However, as aquaculture science and technology develops, there may be potential for additive aquaculture in the existing AMAs in the future.

The Council on 28 June 2012 will consider whether these reports provide a basis for making an area available for the two-step tender and consent application process for fish farming that the legislation added to the TRMP.


[1] While the 2011 aquaculture legislative reforms removed the requirement for AMAs, the Tasman Resource Management Plan continues to use this terminology to identify the areas within which aquaculture can occur in the region. Aquaculture is prohibited outside of these areas.

Fishing Activities

Fishing activities are not covered by the Tasman District Council. Fishing activities are controlled by the Ministry of Fisheries and information should be sought from their website . The Council obtained advice on the potential impacts of dredge and bottom trawl fishing on the sea bed from the National Institute and Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd.  The report is available for reading.

Related Pages