NEXT month New Zealand is to introduce a nationwide standard for biofouling.
From 15 May, 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’s Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity and environment group manager Paul Hallett said 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,” he said.
“Over the past four years, MPI has been working incredibly hard to ensure everyone is aware and ready to comply when the standard goes live in May.”
MPI is to assess the biofouling risk of vessels prior to arrival based on documents supplied by the operator.
“We’ll be looking for evidence of continual maintenance, cleaning or treatment to verify the vessel complies with the new rules,” Mr Hallett said.
“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.”
Mr Hallett said these measures would be at the expense of the vessel owner or operator.
“While we are confident industry is ready for the new rules, we strongly advise vessel operators to get in touch with MPI if they are still unsure how to comply,” he said.