Inshore fishing industry consulted over foreign fishing crews

Tuesday 9 October 2012, 3:26PM
By Department of Labour

Consultation on proposed changes to immigration rules for foreign fishing crew is being extended to businesses in the inshore fishing sector, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment said today.

The proposals being consulted on relate to the recommendations of the Ministerial Inquiry into the Use and Operation of Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs) that aim to safeguard the welfare of foreign fishing crew.

Policies for foreign fishing crew currently only apply to Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs), but when FCVs reflag to New Zealand as they are required to do by 2016, it won’t be possible to legally distinguish them from other New Zealand-flagged vessels.

To address this, the current consultation proposes extending the regime to all foreign fishing crews – whether deep sea or inshore.

MBIE Labour General Manager of Labour and Immigration Policy, Michael Papesch said: “We do not believe that there will be a significant impact on the inshore fishing sector which traditionally employs far fewer foreign crew members than the deep sea fleets, so overall the changes will be minimal for most inshore fishing operators.

“That said, it is still important that we consult with these businesses that make up an important part of the New Zealand fishing industry to ensure that before final decisions are made, we understand what the impacts might be for inshore fishers and we avoid any unintended consequences. 

“We do not want to impose un-necessary costs or burdens on a part of the sector where no significant issues have arisen to date.  However, as the current FCV fleet reflags to New Zealand, we also need to ensure that we future proof the changes the Government is currently putting in place to safeguard the reputation of the New Zealand fishing industry and the welfare of those foreign fishing crews that work in it.”