South Korea and China have agreed to cut back on fishing in each other’s exclusive economic zones next year as part of efforts to preserve their fish stocks, the Seoul government said Tuesday.
Under the agreement, China’s fishing quota in South Korea’s EEZ will be cut by 2,500 tons to 62,500 tons in 2012 with the number of Chinese fishing boats allowed to operate in South Korean waters also reduced to 1,650 from 1,700 this year, according to the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Under the bilateral pact, renewed each year, the number of South Korean boats to be allowed into China’s EEZ remains intact from this year at 1,600 but the amount of their total catch will be reduced from 64,000 tons to 62,000 tons.
The ministry said the reduction of China’s fishing quota in South Korean waters was especially meaningful as the sides agreed the reduction will solely be made from the number of trawlers and gill-net fishing boats that are most destructive to marine life.
“The sides also agreed to strengthen penalties for illegal fishing activities in their EEZs,” the ministry said.
The stepped-up measures include a three-year ban for any person or boat convicted of illegal activities such as resisting arrest or trespassing in territorial waters. Any boat that refuses inspection will also be subject to a 30-day suspension.