NGOs claim North Korean squid fishing operations decline in 2020


Research by the nonprofit Global Fishing Watch found that 95% of total North Korean vessels spent on squid fishing in Russian waters, from 146,800 to 6,600. Squid fishing in its territorial waters of North Korea also suffered a steep decline.

The ships are referred to as part of North Korea’s “dark fleet” because they do not publicly broadcast their location or appear in public surveillance systems, often violating global maritime regulations. Dozens of these ships, poorly equipped to travel long distances, have washed up on Japanese shores in recent years, sometimes with dead sailors.

Global fishing watch used satellite imagery and other marine surveillance techniques to track the number of squid fishing vessels in the May to November fishing season. Squid fishing is one of the easiest operations to track remotely as it is usually done at night with powerful lighting devices.

Squid is popular throughout Northeast Asia, and rising demand in recent years has threatened the stability of already declining squid stocks in the region, according to Global Fishing Watch. In North Korea, squid is fermented, pickled, barbecued, stir-fried or dried and served as breakfast.

Jeun Park, a senior data scientist at the Global Fishing Watch, said the Kovid-19 was seen to have dropped out of the country due to the stringent entry and exit controls of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Experts believe Kim sealed North Korea’s borders last year and ended the last part of its disintegration with the outside world as he knows Pyongyang’s health care infrastructure was overwhelmed by coronovirus outbreaks Will be done.

North Korea says it has not contracted a single case of Kovid-19, which most experts have dismissed as propaganda. But a large wave of infection is being felt in the country, thanks to stringent anti-epidemic measures, control over people’s movement and border lockdown.

However, preventive measures have proved costly. According to data from China’s Customs Agency, trade between Beijing and Pyongyang – an economic lifeline most experts believe North Korea needs to stop starving its people – plummeted by more than 80% in 2020 In.
According to an April 2020 report by the United Nations Office for Coordination, approximately 10.1 million people suffer from food insecurity in North Korea and are “in urgent need of food aid”.
Pyongyang often struggles to adequately feed its people due to economic mismanagement, international restrictions and the country’s arable land and lack of modern agricultural equipment. But the situation has almost certainly worsened this time due to tougher border restrictions and heavy heat.
While there seems to be enough food to go around, supply is under more stress than at any time since the 1990s, according to Chad O’Carroll, CEO of Korea Risk Group, which produces North Korea publication NK Pro and Does NK News.

“We can safely say that there is a nationwide shortage of many staple food types,” he said.

Russian border guards detained North Korean poachers in Russian waters of the Sea of ​​Japan in this file photograph from 2019.

Fishing far away from home

North Korean fishermen often work illegally outside the country’s own waters due to overcrowding.

According to UN investigators, Pyongyang allegedly sold its territorial fishing rights to other countries, despite the fact that fishing or trading in its waters in North Korean fish violates international law.
The trade, which was estimated to cost $ 300 million per year, was approved by the United Nations Security Council in 2017 as part of its effort to punish the Kim regime for repeated ballistic missile tests of that year.
A compelling study published by Global Fishing Watch in 2020 found that rebel fishing vessels belonging to China were operating in North Korean waters and displacing North Korea’s own fishing fleet, causing many boats to sail Were forced to sail away from home, to the more dangerous seas.
Many people could not survive the trip.

Global fishing watch park said squid fishing in Russian and North Korean territorial waters decreased dramatically in 2020. During the peak of the season from September to November, Global Fishing Watch operated 50% fewer vessels of Chinese origin in North Korean waters. At the same time in previous years.

North Korean squid fishing boats, however, did not benefit. Park said there has been no corresponding increase in North Korean squid fishing in the country’s own territorial waters, so large amounts of its North Korea squid supplies are likely to “completely disappear in 2020”.

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