In my Herald column I comment on the report of the Ministerial Inquiry into the use of and operation of foreign charter vessels. My conclusion:
The Government has already agreed to some of the recommendations, but is considering others in more detail. I believe it is important to keep the pressure on the Government to do everything they can to stop these abuses.
The problem is that its ability to act is limited, while the FCVs are flagged under the flags of other countries. This means that, for example, any rapes on board the ships are a matter for the flag state, not New Zealand, unless they are in New Zealand territorial waters (up to 12 miles out) rather than the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone (up to 200 miles out). This means that even these changes may prove ineffective, and the eventual solution may have to be require all vessels fishing in our EEZ to be New Zealand flagged ships. This would have adverse economic consequences, but we can’t allow these abuses to continue in our waters, by ships fishing New Zealand quota.
The problem is not the entire industry or all FCVs, but a subset of them. Those with records of repeated abuses should be ineligible to be contracted.Tags: Fisheries