The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will not rule out whether the work of observers on commercial fishing vessels may be outsourced.
Following the release of a ministerial inquiry earlier in March, the Government said it wanted observers on all joint venture fishing vessels within a year.
The inquiry was initiated after allegations that some foreign crew working on fishing boats chartered to New Zealand companies have been mistreated and underpaid.
MAF deputy director-general Scott Gallacher says it is too early to determine whether the ministry would outsource parts of its observer programme.
Such a move would only be taken if it was deemed cost-effective and quality control could be ensured, he says.
Auckland University researcher Glenn Simmons says higher-skilled monitors could be gained by outsourcing the work. However, it would not save money, as the fishing industry currently pays for monitoring and would continue to do so.