Commercial fishing vessel biofouling requirements

If you're bringing a commercial fishing vessel into New Zealand, you need to meet the requirements of the Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Biofouling. Find out the requirements and how to meet them.

What you must do

The CRMS for Biofouling outlines the requirements for vessels coming to New Zealand.

The recommended method of meeting CRMS requirements for a fishing vessel depends on its itinerary in New Zealand and whether it's part of New Zealand's domestic fishing fleet.

To meet the CRMS requirements:

Clean before you leave (long-stay vessels)

Operators of long-stay vessels must provide MPI with evidence that the vessel has been cleaned less than 30 days before arrival to New Zealand.

You'll need to arrange a biofouling inspection by an appropriately qualified provider and give the evidence to MPI before leaving for New Zealand. Evidence may include documentation of cleaning or treatment of the hull and niche areas, such as dry docking or in-water cleaning reports.

Cleaning means the removal of all biofouling (other than a slime layer and gooseneck barnacles) from all hull and niche areas.

Cleaning with an MPI-approved treatment supplier

If you plan to have your vessel hauled out or re-fitted in New Zealand, you may comply with the CRMS by:

  • booking an appointment for haul out with an MPI-approved treatment supplier (the booking time must be within 24 hours of arrival)
  • giving MPI evidence of your booking with the provider.

Continual maintenance (short-stay vessels)

Short-stay fishing vessels may comply by providing evidence of continual maintenance using best practices. Continual maintenance involves ongoing management of biofouling, including:

  • developing and maintaining a Biofouling Management Plan specific to the vessel
  • keeping records of biofouling management in a biofouling record book
  • coating the hull and niche areas with antifouling paint appropriate to the operating profile of the vessel
  • regularly inspecting the hull and niche areas
  • regularly cleaning the hull and niche areas, especially when the vessel has been stationary for a while.

Providing evidence of continual maintenance

Before you arrive, MPI will ask to see evidence of the above measures. Evidence must be verifiable and may include:

  • Biofouling Management Plan and record book
  • dates and reports of dry docking
  • current antifouling system certificates
  • vessel operational history
  • evidence of independent inspections and ongoing maintenance (such as cleaning or treatment) by suitably qualified people.

Use suitable hull antifouling

The vessel hull should be painted with antifouling that can prevent biofouling between dockings.  The paint applied should take into account:

  • the planned docking period
  • the ship's speed and activity
  • any periods that the vessel will be idle.

Where antifouling paint is damaged, consider in-water repair of the paint system in the area, even when relatively minor.

Maintain, inspect and clean niche areas

Niche areas are protrusions, recesses, or unpainted areas of the hull, which are particularly susceptible to biofouling. It is important to show evidence that all niche areas have been managed for biofouling.

Vessel with close ups of niche areas

Sea chests

  • Paint internal surfaces with antifouling paints suitable for the flow of seawater.
  • Use marine growth prevention systems (MGPSs), such as chemical dosing systems, where possible.
  • Regularly use steam blow-out pipes if fitted in sea chests to reduce biofouling growth.

Sea inlet pipes and outlets

Apply antifouling paint inside pipe openings and pipework. Antifouling paint adheres and lasts longer if:

  • all sea inlet pipes and outlets are rounded
  • grates on sea intakes are made with round bars.

Hull appendages as niches

Any hull appendages can act as niche areas, even when painted with effective antifouling.  You may need to include them in a maintenance programme. Hull appendages include:

  • dry-docking support strips
  • bow and stern thrusters
  • bilge keels, cooling scoops and propulsion scoops
  • rudder hinges and stabiliser fin apertures.

Hull appendages that can't be painted with antifouling paint – because it affects their operation – may need additional maintenance and cleaning. These include:

  • anodes
  • velocity probes
  • echo sounders.

Internal seawater systems

Effective marine growth protection systems (MGPSs) can be fitted to internal seawater systems prone to biofouling. Use these systems regularly and monitor them to make sure they're working well. If an MGPS hasn't been fitted or hasn't prevented biofouling, treat internal systems before arriving in New Zealand.

Fishing equipment

Clean all equipment after use in seawater (such as nets, lines and bottom grabs), and check for biofouling before storage.

Craft Risk Management Plans (domestic vessels)

Domestic fishing vessels are encouraged to develop a Craft Risk Management Plan that outlines alternate but equivalent methods of managing biofouling.

Download the application form and guidance for developing a CRMP [PDF, 949 KB]

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about biofouling requirements for commercial fishing vessels, email 


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