Catch fish – not cables!

22 December 2019

Transpower is reminding all those heading out on the water this summer of restrictions in the Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone (CPZ).

The CPZ protects vital submarine electricity and telecommunication cable links between the North and South Islands. The cables form part of the High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) inter-island link which transfers power between the North and the South Island.

Transpower’s HVDC & Power Electronics Manager Ricky Smith said fishing and anchoring are illegal within the CPZ.

“This infrastructure is critical to New Zealand and hooking or striking a cable with fishing gear or an anchor can cause serious damage or cable failure.”

Transpower is carrying out essential upgrades of the HVDC in early 2020 which will restrict the transfer of power, while also replacing a telecommunications cable in February.

“Cable damage can cost tens of millions of dollars and take many months to repair, and significantly impact power and communications for the country,” Mr Smith said.

The CPZ is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the patrol vessel Seapatroller, an on-call helicopter, shore-based long range cameras, and protection officers, with support from Maritime Police as required.

CPZ Patrol Manager Ken Bedford said a key part of the job was to educate those on the water, and make sure they knew the rules.

“If you’re fishing or boating, we want you to have a great day.”

He recommended people familiarise themselves with the CPZ restrictions if they were going to be in or near the area, and ensure they had adequate tools for navigation.

“If in any doubt call the patrol vessel Seapatroller by VHF radio or on 027 4442 288,” Mr Bedford said.

More information on the CPZ can be found here.

For further information or to interview CPZ Patrol Manager Ken Bedford, please contact:

Patrick O’Meara, Senior Corporate Communications Advisor, 04 590 8626 or 021 517 029.

Note: The cables are protected under the Submarine Cables and Pipelines Protection Act 1996. Those found illegally fishing and anchoring inside the CPZ can face penalties of up to $100,000 and up to $250,000 for any damage to the cable, as well as forfeiture of the vessel involved.

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