Biofouling Craft Risk Management Standard

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been developing a means of minimising the risk of marine pest species being introduced to New Zealand as biofouling on arriving vessels. Biofouling on vessel hulls is the most common way for new species to arrive here. Once here some species may pose a significant risk to New Zealand’s marine environment, and the economic, cultural and social values which are derived from it.

MPI has now agreed the new requirements and released them ‘for information’. These requirements come into effect in May 2018, after a 4 year lead-in period, and apply to all arriving vessels. These new border requirements are set out in a new standard under the Biosecurity Act 1993, called the Biofouling Craft Risk Management Standard (the CRMS).

The basic requirement of the CRMS is that all arriving vessels are ‘clean’ below the waterline on arrival. ‘Clean’ is defined as having no more biofouling than a slime layer (for long-stay vessels and vessels that will visit places other than designated ports). In the case of short-stay vessels undertaking a fast turnaround and only visiting ports (those designatedunder the Biosecurity Act), there is a further allowance of light growth of some specific types of biofouling.

The requirements of the CRMS will be voluntary during the next four years, and will come into force in May 2018. This lead-in period will provide an opportunity for industry and sectors to adapt to the new requirements, without breaking current maintenance cycles. The ministry will work through practical issues and any changes with affected parties as needed.

During the lead-in period, MPI will continue its current policy of directing any vessels with very severe risk biofouling, that come to its attention, to mitigate the risk.

Once the CRMS comes into force in 2018, compliance with the new requirements for shipping is likely to be checked by examination of documentation that provides evidence of acceptable maintenance regimes. On board document inspections may take place where there is a lack of documentary evidence, or the evidence indicates the vessel is likely to be fouled. There may be underwater inspections when required.

The CRMS is intended to give the  appropriate and consistent level of protection for all New Zealand areas from the introduction of pest species from overseas. It is expected that for areas with special legislatively-protected values that more stringent and/or more stringently enforced protections may be required, depending on the  values to be protected.

The measures in the CRMS are:

a) Cleaning before visit to New Zealand, (or immediately on arrival in a facility or by a system, approved by MPI). All biofouling must be removed from all parts of the hull and this must be carried out less than 30 days before arrival to New Zealand or within 24 hours after time of arrival

b) Continual Maintenance using best practice including: application of appropriate antifoul coatings; operation of marine growth prevention systems on sea-chests; and in-water inspections with biofouling removal as required. Following the IMO Biofouling Guidelines is recognised as an example of best practice

c) Application of Approved Treatments . Treatments are approved and listed under the Approved Biosecurity Treatments MPI-STD- ABTRT. Some vessels, such as New Zealand-based vessels (e.g. fishing vessels, Navy craft), may need different compliance solutions to manage biofouling and these can be developed (with MPI assistance if needed) as Craft Risk Management Plans and submitted for MPI approval.

Below is a link to the information on the coming requirements including the CRMS document, and a draft guidance document.

If you have any questions, please contact MPI at