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Forty eight hours into lockdown, with a State of Emergency now in force, the landscape for doing business has shifted seismically.

For New Zealand seafood producers, the decision to classify our work as an essential service is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. Whilst acknowledging that our industry supplies essential protein to many people in our local communities, this is an opportunity for us to do our bit, an opportunity we should be grateful for, and one that comes with significant responsibilities.

Seafood New Zealand is sending regular updates on the COVID-19 situation as it affects our industry and is here to support operators in any way. Our people are in regular contact with the agencies at the front line of the pandemic and, while working remotely, will be available 24/7.

Updates can be found at www.seafood.org.nz.

This is a serious situation and the welfare of our people must be paramount. If they are still working in a factory or on a vessel, every measure to keep them safe must be implemented. Social distancing is critical. If they are working from home check on their mental wellbeing.

A reminder that by 5pm tonight, essential businesses must register with Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) so they can be assured that we are abiding by all necessary protocols. Register here.

MPI and the Minister have been very clear that this is about adapting our behaviour to combat COVID-19. This is not a box ticking exercise. If you cannot meet the requirements in the MPI guidance you cannot operate. MPI will undertake some verification and noncompliance will not be tolerated.

Industry should be aware that 200-300 MPI staff will be on the road working with companies to assess and refine this process.

Primary sector businesses may contact MPI at 0800 00 83 33 or info@mpi.govt.nz for further details on registering or the registration process.

These are the most unusual of times and we know that companies are scrambling to implement new procedures to ensure compliance with new rules.

Supplying New Zealand with fresh seafood in such circumstances is challenging. We recognise that. And we thank you.

If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to contact us: info@seafood.org.nz