Foreign Charter Fishing Vessels (FCV’s):

POSTED BY Karl Stolberger
Barbara Versfelt
19 February 2013

posted in Marine Legislation | Shipping | Transport | Legislation | The Low Down | Fishing

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Image CC licensed by Abaconda Management Group

The 27 or so FCV's operating in New Zealand account for about half of the fish landed from our EEZ and bring with them some significant economic benefits. However FCV's have not been without their problems. Loss of life as the result of vessel sinkings, pollution incidents and complaints over mistreatment of crew employed on FCVs over recent years resulted in the August 2011 commissioning of a Ministerial Inquiry into the Use of Foreign Charter Fishing Vessels.

Following release of the Inquiry's Report, the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill was prepared. The Bill has now had its first reading and has been referred to Parliament's Primary Production Select Committee for consideration. The Committee is to report back by 21 June 2013. Submissions have not yet been called.

The Bill seeks to amend the Fisheries Act 1996.

With effect from the date on which the Bill is passed into law, the powers of the Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will be strengthened so that fisheries management, employment and ship safety issues are given greater consideration in approving FCVs to fish in New Zealand waters and the Director General may impose conditions in that regard. MPI on-board observers will have greater powers to collect information on vessel safety and employment related matters. Cost recovery measures will be put in place. It will be easier for the Director General to suspend or cancel FCV registrations.

As of May 2016 all commercial fishing vessels would be required to obtain registration as New Zealand ships under the Ship Registration Act 1992. This will entail either the transfer of vessel ownership into the hands of a New Zealand entity or the bareboat chartering of foreign owned vessels to New Zealand based operators. As such FCV's will have to comply with all safety, environmental and employment requirements applicable to New Zealand owned vessels.

In addition to ship registration requirements, after May 2016 all fishing vessels, whether New Zealand owned or FCV's, would need to be registered under the Fisheries Act.

For further information contact Karl Stolberger or Barbara Versfelt.

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