In the mid-late 1990s, there was a lot of action on the aquaculture front. Mohua/ Golden Bay was considered a prime site for extensive expansion of mussel farming. Mussel and oyster farms were proposed in sites all over the Bay.
This is when Bob Butts initiated a discussion about appropriate places for mussel farming and how there could be something in it for the community. At this time, Bob & Joan Butts, together with Tom Sturgess and local lawyer Susan Yorke immediately set up the 'Golden Bay Community Trust'.
They put in an ambitious application through the Resource Management Act, lobbying to protect the Bay from unconstrained development, giving the community a voice over the future of the Bay and trying to secure funds for the social needs of Golden Bay.
Long years of slow process, including litigations, have passed before almost two decades later, an agreement signed in October 2020 between the SMW Consortium and the Golden Bay Community Trust, sees the Golden Bay Community Trust taking ownership of 160ha of marine farm water space. The Aquaculture Management Area (AMA) was approved under the Tasman District Resource Management Plan.
Income from the water space initially leased to Kono Seafood Ltd and recently taken over by Talleys is developing and now returning a steady income to the community.