Maritime NZ has released enhanced guidance on its website to ensure everyone enjoying water activities is aware of the submarine cable and pipeline protection areas (CPAs).

The guidance explains the importance of ensuring submarine cables and pipelines are not damaged, for example, when anchoring or fishing, and how to make an application under the Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996 (SCAPPA).

“Generally, all fishing and anchoring activities are illegal within submarine cable and pipeline protection areas,” said Kenny Crawford, Deputy Director Maritime Systems Assurance at Maritime NZ. “If a net, line, rope, chain or any other thing used for fishing or anchoring is observed being towed by, or operated or suspended from, a vessel of any size in a protected area, it will be presumed that fishing or anchoring is being conducted. Failure to comply with the law may lead to significant fines and forfeiture of vessel.”

The enhanced guidance also provides a ready reference for owners and operators of cables and pipelines.

Cable and pipeline owners, such as Transpower, Spark and Southern Cross Cables, spend millions of dollars each year to protect the submarine cables and pipelines.

“Any damage could take months to repair. Some CPAs are patrolled by ship and helicopters 24/7 with protection officers and Maritime Police, so offenders are likely to get caught,” said Mr. Crawford.

Maritime NZ works closely with other agencies, owners and operators to protect submarine cables and pipelines. Te Manatū Waka - Ministry of Transport is responsible for prosecuting vessels that breach the restrictions in protected areas.