The Craft Risk Management Standard for Biofouling (CRMS) aims to reduce the threat of marine pests to New Zealand's marine environment. CRMS requirements are based on the IMO’s Guidelines for the control and management of ships' biofouling to minimize the transfer of invasive aquatic species. These provide examples of biofouling management best practice. Paul Hallett, MPI Biosecurity and Environment Group Manager highlights that the new rules will help to protect the country’s aquaculture industry and local marine life.

"It is only a few months before the rules come into force and we strongly advise commercial and recreational vessel operators to contact MPI if they do not know how to comply." said Mr. Hallett

Mr. Hallett says vessels planning to stay in New Zealand for more than 3 weeks or visiting multiple ports will face the most restrictions. Operators may need to haul out and clean their vessel if they cannot do regular inspections or cleaning.

From May 2018, vessels must arrive in New Zealand with a 'clean hull'. This means:

  • Vessels staying up to 20 days and only visiting designated ports (places of first arrival) will be allowed a slight amount of biofouling (slime layer, goose barnacles, and up to 5% cover of early biofouling depending on the area fouled).
  • Vessels staying longer than 20 days or visiting places that aren't places of first arrival will only be allowed a slime layer and goose barnacles.

From that date onwards, if a vessel arriving in New Zealand has too much biofouling, MPI may restrict entry; reduce itinerary; or ask operators to clean the vessel offshore using an approved treatment or within 24 hours by an approved provider in NZ. As informed, these measures will be at the expense of the vessel owner or operator.

"Any more biofouling than a layer of slime will require the long-stay vessel to be cleaned or moved off-shore at the operator's expense."

The fishing industry and other New Zealand-based vessels may need tailored compliance plans to manage biofouling.

"Vessels that show they are following the rules will be rewarded with less intervention, which will mean speedier arrival processes. In contrast, those that regularly show up non-compliant can expect extra scrutiny and the possibility they will be directed to leave New Zealand waters." Mr Hallett concluded.

Therefore, operators are advised to be aware of the new clean hull requirements and comply by doing of the following actions:

  • Cleaning the vessel hull less than 30 days before arrival in New Zealand or within 24 hours of arrival (you must have proof of a cleaning facility being booked within 24 hours of arrival).
  •  Doing continual maintenance.
  • Applying MPI-approved treatments to the hull.

In any case of the above, operators need to provide an evidence of compliance as MPI may ask to see photographic (or video) evidence of the cleaned hull and niche areas, and/or a biofouling management plan and record book.

Find out more about NZ new biofouling requirements here