China bans fishing around waters east of North Korea

By Liu Linlin Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-9 0:33:01

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture released a notice on its website on Monday stating that Chinese authorities have decided to stop projects involving fishing in the waters east of North Korea in order to protect the property and safety of Chinese citizens.

The circular is the result of failed negotiations between the China Distant Water Fishery Association and the North Korea Common Fishery Association. The North had been insisting on being the sole provider of fuel to vessels, and would not permit Chinese vessels to supply their own fuel.

Chinese authorities said they believed this would severely compromise the normal operations and safety of Chinese vessels, so they released the notice forbidding related parties in Liaoning, Shandong Province from fishing in waters east of North Korea.

Sun Caihui, a fishing boat owner in Dalian whose vessel was kidnapped by armed North Koreans last year, told the Global Times that he had received the notice from local fishery authorities around June 28.

Sun is still struggling to make up for the economic losses from last year's incident and said this year's restrictions will make the situation even worse.

"The current fishing zones are very dangerous with these armed North Koreans. There are no waters left for me to fish in, and with the ban I can do nothing but to leave my fishing equipment unused even though fishing season is coming in September," Sun said, adding that local authorities haven't offered any form of compensation for boat owners.

The notice also said that stricter controls will be implemented on offshore fishing in North Korea.

If any fishing vessels are found illegally operating in North Korea, individuals and companies will face criminal charges such as smuggling and trespassing borders.

Private fishing boat the Liaoning Generic Fishing No. 25222, which had 16 fishermen on board, from Dalian of Liaoning Province was seized by North Koreans who demanded a ransom of 600,000 yuan ($96,774) on May 5.

The vessel was released on May 21 after negotiations from both sides and no ransom was paid.

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