Foreign charter vessels reflagged to New Zealand from today

  • Nathan Guy
Primary Industries

From today all foreign charter fishing vessels are required to reflag to New Zealand and operate under our full legal jurisdiction, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. 

“This is a new era for fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters and will help ensure fair standards for all fishing crews working in our waters,” says Mr Guy.

“Reflagging gives us full jurisdiction over areas like employment, health and safety conditions on vessels fishing in New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

“The reflagging is carried out by Maritime New Zealand and requires operators to ensure fishing vessels fully comply with our maritime rules and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015. It also requires the crew to have appropriate New Zealand-equivalent qualifications.”

Nine FCVs have been reflagged, three are in the process of reflagging and cannot fish in New Zealand waters until then, and around nine have decided not to fish in New Zealand waters.

The nine reflagged vessels are from Japan, Korea, Ukraine and the Commonwealth of Dominica.

“This shows we are serious about the fair treatment of fishing crews, the safety of vessels and New Zealand’s international reputation for ethical and sustainable fishing practices.”

The requirement comes from the Fisheries (Foreign Charter Vessels and Other Matters) Bill which was passed in 2014 and set a deadline of 1 May 2016 for all vessels to reflag to New Zealand.

The legislation was part of a range of measures that followed a Ministerial inquiry in 2012 into questionable safety, labour and fishing practices on some foreign-owned vessels.

The Government has already introduced a range of measures including:

  • Compulsory individual New Zealand bank accounts for crew members
  • Observers on all foreign-owned fishing vessels.
  • Independent audits of charter parties to ensure crew visa requirements – including wages – are being adhered to.

More information is available at