New rules to halt the admission of dirty vessels into New Zealand waters are being rolled out by the Government to "better protect New Zealand's unique marine environment and other vital industries from biosecurity risk".
Minister of Biosecurity Damien O’Connor said today in a statement the arrival of about 90 per cent of non-indigenous marine species in Kiwi waters, like the Mediterranean fanworm, Japanese kelp and Australian droplet tunicate, came to New Zealand via international vessels.
"These incursions harm our aquaculture industries, fisheries and native marine ecosystems," Mr O'Connor said.
The new rules, which were rolled out yesterday, mean that vessel operators need to prove they have taken steps to ensure a clean hull, with divers carrying out inspections of the hulls.
"Biosecurity New Zealand officers will take a hard line on vessels that can't provide evidence they meet the rules.
"Officers will also have the power to direct vessels for cleaning and order the vessel to leave New Zealand if the fouling is severe," he said.
"Vessel operators will meet the costs of any compliance order. The shipping industry has had four years to prepare for the changes and ignorance of the new requirements will not be accepted."