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Korea aims to be world’s No. 4 fisheries exporter

Korea aims to become the fourth-largest fisheries exporter in the world by 2020 through better marine resources management and creation of large, globally competitive fishing companies, the government said Tuesday.

The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said that the country will move to push up exports to $5.5 billion in the target year from around $1.8 billion shipped out in 2010. Last year’s tally placed the country in 19th place, which is a gain from 25th place reached in 2008 when fisheries exports hit $1.3 billion.

“The country may be able to make steady gains if it revamps the poor governance structure in many local fishing companies and removes administrative red tape that has hindered new entrants in the industry,” it said.

The ministry said efforts will also be made to help create larger-sized companies and better use the latest advances in the information technology and marine biotech sectors.

While there is a widespread perception that Korea cannot compete globally, many shortcomings can be overcome by creating a more value-added market and tightly controlling excessive fishing operations that can deplete marine resources, it said.

The ministry, in addition, said development of maritime resources can help the growth of biotech and life science industries.

“According to the international Census on Marine Life, Korea has the most diverse underwater eco-system in the world with

32.3 different marine species living in a 10 square kilometer area of water within its exclusive economic zone,” it said.

This is larger than the 26.9 species found in Chinese waters and 10.1 found in the Gulf of Mexico, the ministry said.

Korea’s fisheries output dipped 1.8 percent on-year in 2010 due mainly to unfavorable weather conditions and greater reliance on fish farming to meet consumer demand, a report by Statistics Korea showed.

The report showed the total annual production reaching 3.12 million tons last year, down 56,000 tons from 2009.

Despite the decrease in total haul, a rise in fish prices helped push up the total value of output to 7.41 trillion won ($6.58 billion), the report said. This is a 7.1 percent gain from

6.92 trillion won tallied in the previous year.

The statistical office said unpredictable changes in water temperatures, typhoons and generally poor conditions affected fishing operations and limited the size of hauls.

It said both coastal and deep-sea fishing production declined last year, with modest gains being reported in fish farming, whose output reached 1.37 million tons. 

(Yonhap News)