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S. Korea displeased with illegal fishing nation designation by EU

South Korea on Tuesday expressed its displeasure with the European Union's preliminary designation of the country as an illegal fishing nation, noting it has already revised law to intensify fishing regulation set to go into effect early next year, according to a ministry official.

"South Korea has consistently sought to react to various issues raised by the European Union since last year, and the result of such efforts was the revision to the law on deep-sea fishing, which was legislated in late July," an official from the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries told reporters.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the EU's preliminary designation of the country as an IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing country Tuesday came despite EU's awareness that the country's "necessary regulations (to curb IUU fishing) are now in place and ready to go into effect early next year."

Under the revised law on deep-sea fishing, all South Korean vessels engaged in overseas fishing must be equipped with a tracking device known as vessel monitoring system starting in July 30 after a six-month probation period following the enactment of the revised law on Jan. 31, 2014.

The country will also set up a fishing monitoring center to keep a close watch on all overseas fishing by South Korean ships, a key issue raised earlier by the EU, according to ministry officials.

Another issue raised by the EU had been South Korea's penalty against IUU fishing, which currently is a fine of less than 5 million won ($4,717).

Starting Jan. 31, the maximum fine for IUU fishing will be raised to three times the value of the catch from illegal fishing.

For now, EU's preliminary designation will have little impact on the country's fishing activities, let alone its exports of fishery products to EU member states, which amounted to $107.6 million in 2012, the ministry officials said.

EU regulations only stipulate that countries preliminarily designated IUU fishing nation must work with the EU to avoid official designation.

The ministry officials said the country's new and strengthened measures against illegal fishing that are set to go into effect next year should be enough to meet all EU criteria to have the country taken off the short list for official IUU designation. (Yonhap News)

 

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