23 Oct 2019

NZDF prepares for fishing migration from Pacific

8:48 am on 23 October 2019
A NZ navy inshore patrol vessel

A NZ navy inshore patrol vessel Photo: Supplied / NZDF

New Zealand's military is preparing for an influx of Pacific fishing vessels migrating to its waters due to the climate crisis.

The Defence Force said the predicted movement will place fishing boats in serious danger as they travel south.

Last year, the NZDF identified climate change as a significant security threat to New Zealand and the wider region.

A Defence Force senior analyst, Jane Neilson, said in the years to come, fish would move south in response to warming waters.

"We're going to be seeing smaller fishing vessels following the fish moving essentially from Papua New Guinea right round and eventually potentially towards New Zealand's exclusive economic zone," she said.

"It's not an easy region to go sailing in."

"It's something that New Zealand Defence is truly taking seriously to watch out for the safety of these vessels in the coming decades," she said.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Friday the government was establishing a new monitoring system which will track every ship in the Pacific.