28 May 2012

Foreign vessels 'may quit' NZ deep sea waters

6:11 pm on 28 May 2012

A fishing industry researcher who exposed labour and human rights abuse on foreign deep-sea trawlers says reflagging them will lead to such vessels quitting New Zealand's fishing grounds for good.

The Government last week announced the changes which mean vessels will have to operate under the New Zealand flag and be subject to the country's labour and safety laws by 2016.

Of New Zealand's deep sea fleet, about half, or 26 ships, are under foreign flags including such countries as Korea and Ukraine.

Auckland University researcher Glenn Simmons believes the costs of compliance will drive the trawlers out of New Zealand waters for good.

Sajo Oyang Corporation shipping agent Pete Dawson says he doubts the Korean owners of trawlers will want to hand over their ship management to New Zealand.

Lawyer Craig Tuck represents crews from foreign charter vessels and says if increased cost is an issue the owners of these vessels must have been cutting corners for a long time.