New commercial fishing boat safety rules for vessels less than 24 metres long are being introduced by the Government to try to reduce the number of deaths at sea.
There have been 28 fatalities in the past decade.
The new rules will affect 90% of the 1100 vessels in the country's inshore fleet.
The Government says the changes include new equipment to limit the spread and impact of fires and updated design and construction standards to reduce the risk of flooding.
However, a Wellington commercial fishermen, Martin Hansen, says the rules are not necessary and will only financially penalise the already safe operators.
Maritime New Zealand says the costs of compliance will be minimal for most fishermen.
The changes come into effect on Thursday.