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Ships boarded near NZ waters

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 4/08/2016

More pressure needs to be put on foreign fishing vessels "plundering" New Zealand fishing resources, the opposition says following a series of alleged fishing offences near the Kermadecs.

The Ministry of Primary Industries says a range of fishing violations were revealed during the boarding of 37 ships flagged in other countries during recent routine patrols in high seas near New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone.

The ships were flag from six different countries, although MPI has declined to say which ones.

"The relevant flag states are now required under international law to investigate the alleged offending and apply sanctions where appropriate," an MPI spokesperson said.

"All countries involved have assured the New Zealand authorities that investigations are being carried out and will report back to us."

She said none of the offending had been in New Zealand waters.

Labour Party fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene said while illegal fishing near New Zealand waters had always been an issue, a recent rise of "plundering" was concerning.

"There are rules all states agree to abide by and these are vessels flagged from their respective states who aren't playing by the rules," he said.

He said while the government wouldn't reveal where the offending ships were from, ships from China and Taiwan were known to be offenders.

The government needed to apply more pressure on offending ships and states, including black-listing vessels.

"Our navy have improved the work they are doing, but we need to be working at other levels," he said.

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