Kelp taker under fresh scrutiny
The man who has been harvesting seaweed from a south coast beach is being investigated by three authorities.
Simon Stott, who has been harvesting bladder kelp (Macrocystis) 1.6km south of Brighton beach for fertiliser, is now under investigation by the Ministry of Fisheries, the Otago Regional Council and the Dunedin City Council.
The investigations were sparked after Dunedin city councillor and Brighton resident Colin Weatherall raised concerns last week that Mr Stott had damaged sand dunes by driving over them with a 10-tonne truck and front-end loader to reach the beach.
At the time, Ministry of Fisheries fisheries officer John Kennedy told the Otago Daily Times the ministry believed Mr Stott was permitted to harvest bladder kelp under the ministry's quota system.
However, he contacted the ODT yesterday saying it now appeared Mr Stott might not be allowed to harvest seaweed and the ministry was investigating.
"There is no commercial beach-cast harvesting of any type of seaweed in the Brighton-Taieri Mouth area," he said.
The Otago Regional Council was also investigating, resource management director Dr Selva Selvarajah said yesterday.
Mr Stott did not have an ORC resource consent to remove seaweed, he said.
"We could prosecute or serve a $500 infringement notice.
"There is a rule for the removal of natural materials, such as sand, shells or seaweed.
"It is considered a permitted activity, but disturbing a coastal marine area has restrictions under the coastal plan and people should refer to the rules."
Staff were preparing a report which would be competed "shortly", he said.
Cr Weatherall said yesterday he had been told DCC staff were looking into the damage to the two beachfronts.
"The unauthorised encroachment of the roading reserve is under investigation," he said.
Both Cr Weatherall and Mr Kennedy said Mr Stott had not harvested at the beach since last week.
Mr Stott could not be contacted for comment yesterday.