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Industry supports move to establish FCV facts

The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council has made its submission to the Ministerial inquiry into the fishing industry’s use of foreign charter vessels (FCVs).

Council general manager of trade and information, Alastair Macfarlane, said the Council called for the inquiry to establish the facts around the use of FCVs after serious allegations were made about working conditions and wages aboard these vessels.

He told the inquiry, which opened in Wellington today, that the use of foreign charter vessels was an established practice within the New Zealand fishing industry. It allows New Zealand quota owners to extract value from fisheries which, because of the large capital outlay involved, they would not otherwise be able to fish.

The Council’s submission to the inquiry pointed out that the New Zealand-owned fleet is generally used at capacity in New Zealand’s most profitable fisheries.

The use of FCVs goes some way to addressing the shortage of suitable New Zealand based crew, the submission said. Even if all FCVs could be replaced by New Zealand-owned vessels, the challenge to staff these vessels would probably require the recruitment of foreign labour.

The submission said that under the Fisheries Act, FCVs should not be registered unless they comply with New Zealand’s minimum labour conditions. A Code of Conduct, agreed between industry and the Department of Labour in 2006, requires FCV operators to pay crew at least $2 more than the current New Zealand minimum wage and adhere to a range of minimum working conditions.

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You can read the submission on the New Zealand Seafood Industry Council’s website at http://www.seafoodindustry.co.nz/fcv

ENDS

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