South Korea will take tougher steps to deal with illegal Chinese fishing activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to better preserve the country's marine resources, the government said Thursday.
The Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said more boats and personnel will be assigned to cope with illegal fishing in the Yellow Sea up until the end of April, when Chinese boats end their dragnet operations.
The number of fisheries patrol vessels will be doubled to four from two at present, with closer cooperation being sought with the Coast Guard and Navy to enhance surveillance of Chinese boats, it said.
"The tougher measures are necessary to prevent depletion of fisheries resources," the ministry stressed.
The ministry added that close attention needs to be paid to the Yellow Sea, where roughly 50 percent of the 83 Chinese boats caught for illegal fishing in the first three months of this year were operating.
Chinese fishermen prefer waters off the Korean Peninsula because pollution has adversely affected fish stocks in their own waters. Under a bilateral agreement, 1,700 Chinese boats are allowed to catch up to 65,000 tons of fish in South Korea's EEZ in 2011.
Local authorities, meanwhile, said they plan to hand out leaflets to Chinese boats requesting that they adhere to fishing rules when operating in South Korea's EEZ.