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Chinese poaching damages South Korean fisheries February 15,2017   |  Source: MarEx

The Korea Maritime Institute (KMI) has issued a new report on fisheries productivity in South Korean waters, and the latest numbers are not encouraging: the nation’s offshore catch came to just 923,000 tonnes in 2016, the lowest annual level since 1972.

Korea's fisheries productivity peaked in the mid-1980s at 1.7 million tonnes per year and has steadily declined since, even though fishing vessels have grown larger and more sophisticated. Warming seas and changes in habitat are part of the cause, says KMI, but the report laid the majority of the blame on Chinese illegal fishing – a long-running source of conflict in the Yellow Sea. Specifically, the report suggested that the Chinese vessels take between 100,000 and 650,000 tonnes per year of illegal catch, including the indiscriminate harvest of young fish, which cuts into the fishery's ability to regrow.

To respond to declining productivity, the Korean government has proposed a plan to reduce domestic catch limits for "depleted species.” However, Korean fishermen are concerned that this policy could reduce their income and raise fish prices without adequately addressing the problem. If Chinese vessels continue to fish illegally, they say, catch limits will not make a difference.

"In the end, the policy will

 

© 2017 The Maritime Executive LLC

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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