The U.S. government removed South Korea from its list of potential illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing countries in four months.
Back in December 2017, two South Korean deep-sea fishing vessels conducted fishing operations in the Antarctic even after a closure notice. Later, the judicial authorities of South Korea inflicted little punishment on the vessels. Then, the U.S. government put South Korea on the list in September last year.
When it comes to fishing in the region, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources applies annual quotas with regard to certain species such as smelts. A shutdown is implemented when the quota is met.
In December 2017, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of South Korea ordered the vessels to leave the region upon confirming the post-notice fishing operations and brought the case to the Korea Coast Guard. The agency acquitted one of the vessels and prosecutors suspended the indictment of the other. Then, the U.S. government concluded that the monetary penalty imposed based on the Distant Water Fisheries Development Act of South Korea was not enough to counter the crew’s illegal economic gains.