The New Zealand government announce that foreign-flagged fishing boats must be reflagged as New Zealand vessels, if they want to operate in New Zealand waters
The move, to take place over a four-year transition period, would send a clear message that New Zealand was serious about the fair treatment of fishing crews, the safety of vessels and its international reputation for ethical and sustainable fishing practices, Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Labor Minister Kate Wilkinson stated.
The announcement followed the release in March of a report by the Ministerial Inquiry into Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs), which was ordered after widely publicized cases of mainly Indonesian fishing crews jumping ship with claims of unpaid wages and physical abuse when their Korean-owned vessels docked in New Zealand.
"Reflagging will further strengthen compliance with New Zealand laws and provide more transparency around the operation of foreign- owned vessels," said Carter.
"We are already moving to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of FCVs, including placing an observer on all FCVs fishing in New Zealand waters," he said in the statement.
"The government continues to welcome foreign charter fishing vessels operating in New Zealand waters, but they must meet our requirements and our standards."
Wilkinson said the full range of New Zealand law, including employment relations and workplace health and safety law, would automatically apply and be enforceable once the vessels were flagged to New Zealand.