According to the Ministry of Oceans & Fisheries of South Korea, a total of 25 cases of illegal fishing by Chinese boats were reported in January and February this year in the zone in the Yellow Sea where fishing operations without mutual approval are allowed for South Korean and Chinese fishing boats in accordance with the Korea-China Fisheries Agreement concluded in 2001.
The number of the reported cases increased by approximately 30% from a year ago and 14 out of the total were without any permit.
Similar large-scale illegal fishing by Chinese boats is occurring in the South and East Seas as well. The South Sea accounts for about 70% of South Korea’s littoral catch.
Losses incurred from the illegal fishing are snowballing. The National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of South Korea sent a written protest to the Chinese Embassy in South Korea last year, claiming that the losses amounted to 1.3 trillion won in 2016.
Besides, China is exporting fisheries products obtained by the illegal fishing to South Korea. Last year, South Korea’s import of fisheries products from China exceeded US$1.2 billion for the first time and China became the country from which South Korea imports the largest amount of such products.