Managing New Zealand's high seas fishing activities
Pacific Island EEZs and High Seas areas of the Western and Central
On the high seas, vessels must fly the flag of a country they are registered to – their ‘flag state’.
The vessel has to operate according to that country’s laws, including their fishing laws. If the country has signed up to any international
agreements, the vessel must abide by those as well.
Under the Fisheries Act 1996, New Zealand registered vessels must have a high seas fishing permit if they want to go fishing or transport
fish on the high seas. At present there are around 30 New Zealand flagged vessels with a high seas fishing permit.
Sometimes New Zealand fishing companies use foreign
vessels on the high seas. In these cases, our legislation
requires them to have an authorisation from the government
of the vessel’s flag state.
The system allows the New Zealand government to manage
high seas activities. Our government can then engage in
negotiations with other nations about sustainable high seas
fishing practices, secure in the knowledge that it is meeting
it’s international obligations.