Foreign Charter Vessels (FCV)
Vessels owned or operated by an overseas person that are fishing in New Zealand waters under contract to a New Zealand company are commonly referred to as Foreign Charter Vessels (FCVs). While FCVs remain flagged to a foreign State during the time of the charter, their registration status makes them subject to New Zealand's fisheries management regime whilst in New Zealand waters.
Like all commercial fishing vessels to be used for the taking of fish in New Zealand's EEZ, section 103(4) of the Fisheries Act 1996 (the Act) requires that FCVs be registered in the fishing vessel register. The FCV is registered in the name of the New Zealand party to the agreement. This registration binds the operator to the same fisheries laws as New Zealand flagged vessels fishing in New Zealand waters.
Before a FCV can be used to take fish commercially the New Zealand party in whose name the vessel is registered must also hold a commercial fishing permit that has been issued under section 91 of the Act. All product on board such vessels are the responsibility of the New Zealand permit holder.
Like all other fish landed into New Zealand ports, fish from FCVs must be landed to a Licensed Fish Receiver (LFR) under section 110 of the Act, and so is subject to the same monitoring, reporting and certification requirements, including the New Zealand fisheries export certification system.
Prior to registration of a FCV, the New Zealand party to the agreement must submit detailed information about the charter arrangement with the foreign owner and the intended fishing activities of the FCV in New Zealand waters.
New Zealand vessel operators charter or lease FCVs from foreign vessel owners for a period of up to one year. The vessels can be chartered with or without a fishing crew. FCVs are employed in some New Zealand fisheries because they reduce the operational investment in vessels required to fish commercially. This is particularly important for commercial operators who operate in seasonal fisheries such as hoki, squid and jack mackerel.