From 15 May 2018, all commercial and recreational vessel operators will need to comply with the Craft Risk Management Standard (the Standard) for Biofouling on Vessels arriving into New Zealand Territory. This represents a significant step forward in marine biosecurity management in New Zealand as we will become the first country in the world to introduce a nationwide standard for biofouling to prevent pests entering our waters from overseas.
The biofouling standard requires the operator of any vessel that arrives at a port in New Zealand to take all reasonable and practicable steps to make sure the vessel has a "clean hull." To achieve the clean hull requirement, all vessels must be treated, cleaned, or have a record of ongoing biofouling maintenance, prior to arrival. The standard required will depend on the length of time the vessel is intended to remain in the country.
Failure to meet these requirements will mean that a vessel will be directed for further action under the Biosecurity Act 1993. This may include treatment by approved local treatment providers or direction outside of New Zealand for treatment before returning.
The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has released new guidance documents to accompany the Standard to help vessel operators understand the new rules and develop customised craft risk management plans, as an alternative to meet the requirements of the Standard.
Vessel operators have been given a four year lead-in period from when the Standard was issued in 2014 to allow time to make any adjustments needed to their hull maintenance regimes. Whilst voluntary compliance has been encouraged in the meantime, the enforcement of the Standard will ensure that vessels arriving into New Zealand arrive with a clean hull, reducing the risk of new harmful species being introduced into New Zealand.
The enforcement of the Standard will also provide further support to local authorities managing marine pests through various mechanisms, including marine pathway management plans and regional pest management plans.
A copy of the Standard and new guidance material from MPI can be found at: http://www.mpi.govt.nz/importing/border-clearance/vessels/arrival-process-steps/biofouling/
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.