26 July, 2012
Amended fishing boat rule reflects safety and industry needs
Changes to the Maritime Rule covering the design and construction of fishing boats, and the equipment used on them, will improve safety, lift compliance and better meet the needs of the fishing industry, says Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges.
Amendments to Part 40D (Design, Construction and Equipment – Fishing Ships) make the Rule more applicable to vessels less than 24m in length, which make up more than 90 per cent of the 1070 vessels in the New Zealand fishing fleet.
“The overall objective is to improve safety of fishing vessels. The fishing industry is one of our most dangerous, with 28 fatalities between 2002 and 2010. Structural and equipment failures accounted for 26 per cent of fishing injuries in 2009/10. The amended Rule helps address this social cost.
“In addition, the Rule changes reflect recent lessons from maritime incidents which can have significant consequences for crew safety and the seaworthiness of fishing ships.”
These amendments work to ensure the Rule is appropriate for the age, range and scale of ships in New Zealand’s commercial fleet.
“A 2005 inspection of a random selection of small fishing vessels showed that compliance with the Rule was extremely poor. An industry working party found that the Rule was largely unworkable for the ships it was intended to regulate. The amendments, which have been developed in close consultation with the sector over several years, ensure that the Rule is appropriate for the majority of vessels in operation.
“The changes also reflect this Government’s focus on better and less regulation by removing requirements that are unnecessary, ineffective or excessively costly.
“The cost of the amendments to the sector will be minimal and, in some instances, will reduce costs. The aim is to reduce ambiguity and ensure requirements are practical and effective for all fishing ships. “The changes make it clear who is responsible for compliance, which will help improve consistency of interpretation across the sector.” The amended Rule comes into effect on 2 August.