Preventing marine pests from arriving

The first line of defence is the prevention of new marine pests arriving into New Zealand waters. This requires both an international and a domestic approach. New Zealand is working with international organisations to develop measures for minimising the transfer of marine pests. There are also a number of unilateral tools which are used to prevent the entry of unwanted pests into New Zealand, including Import Health Standards, Risk Analysis and Craft Risk Management Standards.

Import Health Standards

Import Health Standards apply to the import of items into New Zealand that pose a biosecurity threat. The standards seek to mitigate the risks associated with bringing items into New Zealand. They set out the requirements that must be met in the exporting country, during transit and during importation, before biosecurity clearance can be given. 2659

Risk Analysis

An analysis of risk is the first stage in the development of Import Health Standards. It involves the identification of pests and diseases that might be associated with a good, the likelihood of entry and establishment in New Zealand, and the potential impacts on the economy, environment and human health. Risk analysis is still an evolving discipline, but it is now an accepted basis under the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement for establishing international trading standards, where safety aspects of animal and plant products are concerned. New Zealand is one of the countries leading the way in establishing risk analysis procedures internationally. 2660

Import Health Standard for ships’ ballast water

The ‘Import Health Standard for ships’ ballast water from all countries’ was issued in 2005. It applies to ballast water loaded within the territorial waters of a country other than New Zealand and intended for discharge in New Zealand waters. It outlines the requirements for any vessel discharging ballast water in New Zealand waters, including four options for vessels: 2661

  • The ballast water must have been exchanged en route to New Zealand in an area free from coastal influences, preferably 200 nautical miles from the nearest land and in water over 200m in depth (this requirement is based on the assumption that species adapted to living in surface waters of the open sea are relatively unlikely to establish in New Zealand’s coastal environment); or
  • The ballast water must be fresh water (not more than 2.5 parts per thousand sodium chloride); or
  • The ballast water must have been treated using a shipboard treatment system; or
  • The ballast water must be discharged into an onshore treatment facility

The International Maritime Organization is the United Nations’ specialised agency with responsibility for the prevention of marine pollution by ships. The Organization is the global-standard setting authority for the environmental performance of international shipping, with a role to develop a regulatory framework that is universally adopted and implemented. In 2008 New Zealand became party to the International Maritime Organization’s International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships Ballast Water and Sediments 2004.

A key feature of the Convention is a stringent performance standard requiring new ships, and eventually all ships, to operate ship-board treatment systems to disinfect ballast water taken up in foreign ports. Also included are procedures for member countries to take enforcement action where the regulations are violated. A new Ballast Water Levy will be created to cover the cost of an inspection regime to confirm compliance with the Convention’s requirements. This annual levy will apply to ships, both international and New Zealand-flagged, bringing ballast water from outside the country for discharge in New Zealand waters. 2662  The Convention will come into force 12 months after ratification by 30 States, representing 35 per cent of world merchant shipping tonnage. As of 19 March 2013, 36 States have ratified the Convention, representing just over 29.07 per cent of the world merchant fleet tonnage. At the time of writing the convention had not yet come into force. 2663

Craft Risk Management Standard for Biofouling on Vessels Arriving to New Zealand

The ‘Craft Risk Management Standard for Biofouling on Vessels Arriving to New Zealand’ was released by MPI in 2014 and it will come into force on 15 May 2018. It specifies the requirements to be met in respect of biofouling on the submerged parts of vessels that have come from, or recently visited, coastal waters of another country. It includes a requirement that vessels arrive in the country with “clean hulls”. 2664  The Standard is aligned with the 2011 International Maritime Organization Guidelines for Biofouling Management which means that much commercial shipping is already compliant. The MPI for Primary Industries will be using the four-year lead-in period to work with vessel operators and communicate the different measures available to shipping lines and other parties to ensure compliance.

  1. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/imports/ihs

  2. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/imports/ihs/risk

  3. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/files/ihs/ballastwater.pdf

  4. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/media/24-09-08/ballast

  5. http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Environment/BallastWaterManagement/Pages/BWMFAQ.aspx#2

  6. http://www.biosecurity.govt.nz/regs/sea-craft-ports/sea-craft

Last updated at 2:11PM on February 25, 2015