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Ambassador report

Ambassador report

[Ambassador report] Overfishing in South Korea: Depleted Squid Supply

by Soyeon Cho | 22-04-2019 16:15 Comments 7 Comments recommendations 1 recommendations

Overfishing is when the fishing industry depletes the supply of fish in the ocean by catching too much fish in too short of a time period. Many fishermen around the world continue fishing unsustainable practices that do not give the fish population enough time to regrow and maintain its numbers. Common causes include the lack of regulations for catching young fish (still growing), lack of fishing quotas mandated by the government and more.

In the case of South Korea, because South Korea is a peninsula that is surrounded by many kilometers of the coastline, it therefore has a prolific fishing industry for fish such as squids and mackerels. However, many sources have suggested that the current measures are not sufficient in preventing the excessive fishing around the local waters. 

One example of overfishing is the depleted squid supply in East Asia. According to Arirang News, “the total catch in waters off Korea′s eastern Gangwon-do Province last month was just a quarter of that recorded during the same period last year,” and according to the East Sea Fisheries Research Institute, the squid catch in tonnes halved from 117,000 tonnes in 2009 to 69,000 tonnes in 2014.

This issue has reduced the number of fishermen sailing out for squid in the East Sea. Although there is a multitude of causes, one of the causes for the issue is the effect of rising temperatures through global warming (contributing to climate change). Ocean temperatures have increased for the past few decades to the point where some species that were common cannot be seen in the East Sea anymore, such as the pollack. 

Another major cause has been pointed out by several sources as the overfishing from both foreign and local fishermen. As the squid supply decreased while demand from consumers in East Asia increased, the squid population has decreased more and more quickly. The influx of fishermen from China has further contributed to the issue, as 1,900 Chinese fishing boats were known to be operating in North Korea’s waters as of 2015, which is 1,000% more than a decade before (Arirang News). These boats, fishing in the northern part of the East Sea, have added to the decrease in the number of squids returning south to the South Korean waters. Therefore, the increased demand for squid combined with the changing ocean temperatures have meant that the squid supply rapidly decreased in the past few years. 

Because many of the fishing boats from nearby countries such as China stay in the northern part of the East Sea, where North Korea is not making many efforts for preventing illegal Chinese boats, South Korea is having challenges addressing the depletion of the supplies for fish, squid, octopus, clams, and more.

Some possible solutions include the development and implementation of stronger regulations on the fishing quotas and the limits in the size of the fish that the fishermen can keep, stricter enforcement on illegal fishing boats. Also, negotiations between East Asian countries need to be promoted for fostering cooperation on preventing both overfishing and the involvement of violence in the interactions between coast guards and fishing boats (Roehrig). 

Roehrig, Terence. “South Korea–China Maritime Disputes: toward a Solution.” East Asia Forum, East Asia Forum, 26 Nov. 2012, www.eastasiaforum.org/2012/11/27/south-korea-china-maritime-disputes-toward-a-solution/.

“Squid Fishing Vessels in a South Korean Port.” Business Times, Singapore Press Holdings, 11 Oct. 2016, www.businesstimes.com.sg/sites/default/files/styles/large_popup/public/image/2016/10/11/40151339.1%20%2840151692%29%20-%2010_10_2016%20-%20SOUTH%20KOREA%20CHINA%20FISHING.jpg?itok=3QhL0vqQ.

“Squid Stocks in Korean Waters Depleted by Chinese Overfishing - Arirang News.” YouTube, YouTube, 12 July 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=0818Yj6nJ1w.
Squid Fishing Vessels in a South Korean Port


Kushal Naharki

  • Kushal Naharki says :
    Hello Soyeon

    Thank you for your report about Overfishing in South Korea and Depleted Squid Supply. This is such a really an impressive report and really enjoyed reading it.

    Green Cheers from Nepal :)
    Keep writing great reports.
    We are eager to read more reports from you.

    Kushal Naharki

    Posted 17-06-2019 03:02

Louis Mentor

  • Louis Mentor says :
    Hi Soyeon,

    Thank you for your report on this interesting subject in your country and as far as I am aware of, Overfishing in Korea has been a major problem for a long time, and with fishermen from neighboring countries such as China and Japan, Overfishing actually exacerbated. You actually touched on one of the major ongoing issue in Korea and please keep up the good work!

    Louis Mentor
    Posted 28-04-2019 18:14

Wonhee Mentor

  • Wonhee Mentor says :
    Hello Soyeon

    Thank you for your wonderful report about the problem of overfishing. Overfishing and illegal fishing causes a multitude of problems as it might threaten the ocean ecosystem and make it hard to predict the number of each specie. As a number of examples in the past suggest, overhunting might even cause extinction. Thank you for addressing this important issue in Korea! I look forward to your next report.

    Wonhee Mentor
    Posted 27-04-2019 17:25

Eco Generation

  • Eco Generation says :
    Greetings Soyeon,

    Thank you very much for this powerful report on overfishing in your country.
    It was fascinating to see how the supply and demand of a particualr biological resource can affect one another.
    Also, it was interesting to see how there are various other factors (internal and external) that can build up a big problem in terms o f overfishing.

    Keep up the superb work!
    Posted 24-04-2019 16:02

Asmita Gaire

  • Asmita Gaire says :
    Hello soyeon
    I have heard Japan and Korea is so fascinated for fishes.
    And this depletion is very serious.
    Thank you so much for this report.
    Green cheers!
    Posted 24-04-2019 11:19

Yerdaulet Rakhmatulla

  • Yerdaulet Rakhmatulla says :
    Hi, Soyeon. I admire your report and hope in the near future write as informational as you. Fighting!
    Posted 24-04-2019 01:27

Rosa Domingos

  • Rosa Domingos says :
    Hey there Soyeon!

    I trust you are well. I imagine that the fishing industry is a major factor in South Korea, but the fact that there is a statistic that shows the depletion of squid should make the government athourity realise how grave the situation has gotten.

    I concur with you that if we want to see change in the current issue, we need to factor in governmental mandates to regulate illegal fishing and over fishing.

    I like how you stated the status quo of South Korea in a consice and insightful manner. Thank you Soyeon,
    Posted 22-04-2019 18:03

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