Surfbreak Protection Society
Surfbreak Protection Society
Porpoise & Curio Bays

Porpoise & Curio Bays Porpoise Bay is a surfbreak situated at the south-eastern extremity of New Zealand’s South Island, in an area known as the Catlins. It is an incredibly beautiful and remote place. Porpoise Bay is under threat from a Dairy Farm proposal now before the Southland District Council. The Southland District Council and Southland Regional Council have announced the pre hearing and hearing dates for this application to undertake high intensity farming.

© Nic Reeves –

Porpoise Bay is one of numerous Catlin surfbreaks. Many surfers trek to the Catlins every summer and the surfbreaks even have a hardy bunch of locals who surf throughout the cold winter months.

he freshwater outflow around the Porpoise Bay surfbreaks is of a high and very safe quality. This water safety and quality has the chance to be dramatically compromised by a proposed conversion of an existing low-intensity farm into a high-intensity dairy farm in the catchment area.

On the 19th December 2008 a farming company, South Coast Dairy Limited lodged an application to Southland Regional Council and the Southland District Council to develop an industrial style dairy farm in the Curio/Porpoise Bay area.

Numerous resource consents at both a district and regional level will be required to build what would be the first dairy farm in this Porpoise Bay surfbreak catchment.  The dates for the pre hearing is 24 February 2009 and the full hearing date will be on 12 March 2009. 99 submissions were lodged with the district council opposing the conversion, 0 supported it. 105 submissions were lodged with the regional council in opposition to conversion, 3 supported it. Surfbreak protection is a submitter in opposition to the conversion of the intense dairy farm and in support of its retension as a sheep and beef farm.

Dairy farms in New Zealand impact adversely on the environment. The adverse impact is most extreme in the effects dairying has on freshwater at point-source and non-point source. Point-source is water to water. This happens mostly in the milking shed where these areas are kept clean with high pressure hoses. This water mixes with abundant cow shit / piss, and is washed into purpose built settlement ponds. These settlement ponds and the way that the water / shit sludge is discharged into the environment depend on the farmer and the Councils.

Point-source pollution is easily measured and quantified. Non-point source pollution is not easily measured and is of the most concern to surfbreaks. Though surfbreaks are in saltwater, they nearly always have a freshwater component. Non-point source pollution in the case of the dairy industry is all the cows shit and piss falling on the ground. When it rains it goes into the ground and if it’s close to the coast it comes out in all kinds of places.

Dairying also puts on to the land petro-chemicals applied to increase grass growth and herbicides to kill plants other than the grass used for cows. In winter, cows in the New Zealand dairy systems might eat maize. Maize grown for the diary industry also uses large amounts of herbicides.

New Zealand’s environmental systems are slowly catching up with the effects of dairying. The catchments around Lake Taupo, the North Island’s largest freshwater lake, have strict planning rules for the dairy industry. Surfbreak Protection would expect these rules to be the minimal compliance requirements for any dairy farm conversion at Curio Bay.

Wilderness surfbreaks, and surfbreaks that can be surfed after rain, are part of the New Zealand surf experience. Porpoise Bay and neighbouring Curio Bay with Hector dolphins and yellow eyed penguins play a vital role in offering a 100% wildlife surfing experience

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