First reflagging of foreign charter fishing vessel welcomed

  • Simon Bridges
  • Nathan Guy
Labour Primary Industries

The first reflagging of a foreign charter fishing vessel as New Zealand-registered is good news for foreign crews fishing in our waters, and for New Zealand’s international reputation, say Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Labour Minister Simon Bridges.

The Ukrainian fishing vessel FV Mainstream, chartered by Independent Fisheries, was today officially reflagged, bringing it under New Zealand labour, and health and safety laws.

The reflagging, carried out by Maritime New Zealand, required Independent Fisheries to ensure the vessel fully complied with New Zealand maritime rules and the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. Reflagging also requires the crew to have appropriate New Zealand-equivalent qualifications.

“The Government is committed to making it compulsory for all foreign charter fishing vessels to be reflagged by 2016, following concerns raised in a Ministerial inquiry last year into safety, labour, and fishing practices,” says Mr Guy.

Mr Bridges says reflagging brings the crew of foreign charter vessels under the protection of New Zealand law in terms of labour conditions and health and safety.

“This is necessary to ensure the rights of crew to safe and fair working conditions are fully understood and met.”

The Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill passed its first reading recently with unanimous support and was referred to the Primary Production Select Committee. It would make reflagging mandatory for any foreign fishing boat operating in New Zealand waters from 2016.

The Bill will strengthen the powers of the Director General of the Ministry for Primary Industries to consider employment and vessel safety as well as fisheries matters, when approving FCV registration applications.