From May 15, all commercial and recreational vessel operators will have to show they have managed biofouling on their vessels before they enter New Zealand waters. New Zealand will thus become the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide standard for biofouling. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released a new guidance to help vessel operators understand the new rules and how they can comply.
MPI has also released a guidance document for developing customized Craft Risk Management Plans
“Biofouling presents a major biosecurity risk to New Zealand. The new standard aims to reduce this risk and protect our unique marine environment and our aquaculture industries by ensuring vessels arrive with a clean hull,” Paul Hallett, MPI’s biosecurity and environment group manager, said.“We understand that not all vessels will be able to meet the compliance measures outlined in the standard. Craft Risk Management Plans allow these vessels to develop a more tailored compliance plan to manage the biofouling,” Hallett explained. “We expect vessels with unique operating profiles, such as cruise ships and fishing vessels, will most likely use this option,” he added.
MPI will assess the biofouling risk of the vessel prior to its arrival based on documents supplied by the operator. The ministry will look for evidence of continual maintenance, cleaning or treatment to verify the vessel complies with the rules.
“Vessels that are unable to comply with the new regulations may have their schedules interrupted or restricted, or even face the possibility of being directed to leave New Zealand territory. These measures will all be at the expense of the vessel owner or operator,” Hallett further said.