NZ MPI seeks feedback on changes to high seas fishing rules

Photo: Watkins

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is seeking feedback on proposals to improve New Zealand’s rules for fishing in international waters outside of New Zealand’s exclusive economic zone.

“New Zealand has a strong interest in maintaining high standards for sustainable fishing in international waters and works together with a range of other countries through international conventions to achieve this”, said Phil Houlding, MPI director of international policy.

“We need to ensure that our legislation is up to date with evolving international standards, and the international fisheries agreements and management organisations that we are part of.

“These proposals would update our existing international fishing rules to make high seas decision-making processes more transparent and set tougher penalties for illegal fishing. This will benefit industry by providing more certainty and ensuring legal operators are not disadvantaged.”

MPI is looking for feedback on a range of proposals, including:

  • tightening and clarifying the rules for authorising and revoking fishing permits on the high seas
  • strengthening the monitoring of New Zealand’s fishing vessels fishing in other states’ waters
  • clarifying and strengthening penalties for New Zealand vessels breaking international conventions, including making it an offence to engage in activities prohibited under international commitments, including operating or supporting listed illegal fishing vessels
  • allowing for foreign flagged vessels suspected of illegal fishing in the high seas to be detained in New Zealand ports to enable inspection.

The consultation has already begun and will run until November 21, 2021. It responds to recommendations of an independent expert review of the Fisheries Act in relation to New Zealand’s international fisheries compliance obligations and related market access requirements.


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