Management of foreign charter fishing vessels
The New Zealand government supports the use of foreign
charter vessels (FCVs) but believes that the right to use
one comes with responsibilities.
Concerns were raised about the safety, standard and operation
of foreign fishing vessels chartered by New Zealanders to fish in
New Zealand waters. In response, a major review of management
controls for FCVs was conducted by the Ministry of Fisheries,
together with industry.
This year a new regime for FCVs was announced and came into
effect on 1 July 2008.
The changes to the management regime fall within four main
- A minimum standard for the provision of food, accommodation
and amenities for MFish observers on board, including
minimum requirements for observer cabins and
bathroom facilities and a minimum head height
of 1.9 metres in the area of an observer’s
- A risk-based approach to placing observers
on vessels, with increased levels of observer
coverage on vessels considered high risk.
- Greater safety assurance through increased
cooperation with Maritime New Zealand.
- Improved registration and approval processes
including more rigorous risk assessment and
screening of foreign vessels and crew and
compulsory pre-registration inspection by
These changes are designed to ensure the integrity of the Quota
Management System and provide a safe and secure working
environment for MFish observers.
The new regime has been extensively consulted on with the
fishing industry. A review group comprising MFish staff and
representatives of major fishing companies and different sectors
of the fishing industry that use FCVs has worked to develop the
new requirements. The proposals were then consulted on publicly
before any final decisions were made.
It will be a legal requirement to comply with the new regime.
Any vessels that do not comply with the minimum requirements
or are considered to pose an unacceptable risk will not be
registered to fish in New Zealand. Any registered vessel that
breaches the regime will be ordered to remedy the situation
and may be prosecuted or denied re-registration.
Fishers have been given one year to fully implement these new