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Official Guide to the Government Court: N.Z. Centennial Exhibition

Marine Department

Marine Department

The functions of the Marine Department may be grouped under four main headings, viz., Mercantile Marine, Harbours, Inspection of Machinery, and Fisheries, ond the following notes give brief details of the work accomplished under each:—

Mercantile Marine:

The Department, by the Shipping and Seamen Acts, regulates the operation of the Mercantile Marine, principally in the interests of safety at sea. Provisions for minimum manning scales, qualification of various ratings and their examinations for certificates, standards of design, strength, etc., and surveys of ships, equipment and gear are made in the Acts and Regulations; these surveys, made periodically, cover such equipment as boats, life-saving appliances, compasses, lights, radio installations and fire-extinguishing apparatus.

The engagement and discharge of seamen, supervision of claims of sick and injured seamen, and general duties relating to employment and accommodation, etc., ore carried out under the supervision of Departmental staff who also conduct all preliminary inquiries into shipping casualties.

Aids to navigation, such as lighthouses, radio beacons, etc., are installed and maintained by the Department at necessary points on the coastline.

The Department also acts generally for the Marine Department of the Board of Trade, London, in administration of the Imperial Merchant Shipping Acts.

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While all harbours of importance, except Westport, Picton and Kaipara, are administered by specially-constituted boards, the Department administers the Harbours. Acts generally, and also controls harbours not under Board control.

It administers the General Harbour Regulations, where provision is made for safe navigation of harbours, safety of those engaged in waterside work, and the handling of petrol and fuel-oil on wharves and ships.

Inspection of Machinery:

The Department administers the Inspection of Machinery Acts, designed to promote safety of life in the operation of boilers and other pressure vessels, power-driven machinery, lifts and cranes on land, other than very small machinery. Inspections of these total about 94,000 annually.

All accidents required by law to be notified are investigated by Inspectors. Candidates are examined for certificates as Land Engineers, Engine-drivers and Elec  tric-train drivers. About 550 certificates are issued annually.


The principal work in relation to sea-fisheries is regulation of the industry to prevent irrational and wasteful exploitation of fisher/ resources, and the legislation

and regulations are designed for this purpose. To maintain an understanding of the-nature and extent of the fisheries, the Department keeps in touch with fishery activities and developments. Special observations are made in connection with the various species, and scientific understanding of their life-history has been advanced. This, with the collection of statistics of fishing operations, is essential to proper control and administration.

The cultivation of rock-oysters, picking and sale of which are undertaken by the Department, has been placed on a sounder basis as a result of experimental work and observation.

In regard to fresh-water fisheries, the Department, as the central authority in the making and administration of regulations relating to acclimatised fish, collaborates with the several Acclimatisation Societies which control fresh-water fishing in their districts, excluding the Taupo and Rotorua districts, where the fisheries are administered by the Internal Affairs Department.

At Hakataramea and Te Anau, the Department maintains hatcheries, which were established for the acclimatisation of quinnat and Atlantic salmon, and are now used in connection with the artificial culture and distribution of these species; in New Zealand waters, and for investigational purposes.

A fishery research laboratory is maintained in Wellington, where biologists, undertake investigation of the biology of trout, with special reference to factors governing their propagation, growth and survival in New Zealand, and the study of phenomena connected with the reproduction and distribution of sea fish and shellfish of commercial importance.

New Zealand is a party to the International Whaling Convention, having a direct interest in the industry, as it not only has a station in the Dominion, but also administers the Ross Dependency, where whaling is carried on. The Convention's aim is conservation, now definitely necessary as a result of intensive operations over recent years.

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