South Korea called to task by Greenpeace over alleged illegal fishing –

South Korea called to task by Greenpeace over alleged illegal fishing Published:  12 April, 2013

Greenpeace East Asia has accused South Korea’s fishing industry of creating ‘illegal fishing scandals and human rights abuses’ which ‘have earned the country a bad reputation that is jeopardising its fish trade with the US and the EU’.

Greenpeace is urging the Korean government to bring its fishing industry under control and adopt a policy that ensures legal and sustainable fishing or risk a global backlash on its fisheries exports. The Greenpeace East Asia report, Korea’s Distant Water Fisheries: IUU Fishing, International Violations and Human Rights Scandals, (2) was discussed this week in the Standing Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Korean National Assembly.

The report details 34 cases in which Korean fishing companies are accused of engaging in practices including illegal fishing, non-compliance with international fishing standards and human rights abuses in their fleets. “The South Korean government must rein in an industry that operates outside of the law. Wide-ranging reforms in South Korea’s distant water policies are urgently required to rebuild the country’s international reputation and ensure the sustainable future of its fishing industry,” said Jiehyun Park, Greenpeace East Asia Oceans Campaigner. Korea is a leading distant water fishing power with 359 vessels operating in every ocean in the world (KOFA yearbook). In recent years, however, Greenpeace says the Korean fleet has been linked to scandals involving exploitative practices in the Southern Ocean, overfishing of toothfish in Antarctica, pirate fishing and forgery in Africa and cruel abuses against fishing crews in the Pacific Ocean. Korean parliamentarians reacted swiftly to the report, calling for policy reforms and a transparent monitoring systems. MP Jae-kwon Shim, a member of the Standing Committee, also raised the issue about IUU activities at the Standing Committee meeting. “The government should prioritise stopping illegal fishing activities, unsustainable fishing practices and human rights abuses by Korean fleets. Unless action is taken we expect an international backlash with market-related and other measures by both the US and EU to sanction these destructive and unethical practices based on their progressive legislations and increasing demand for sustainable and ethical seafood products,” Jiehyun Park said. Greenpeace says it  is campaigning for an end to illegal and unsustainable fishing including destructive fishing methods and for a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans, both necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health and to maintain living oceans and ample fish for future generations.