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Rate of Chinese boats fishing illegally captured in S. Korea hovers below 1 pct

All News 12:23 October 11, 2016

INCHEON, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -- The rate of seizing Chinese fishing boats that were illegally operating in South Korean waters has remained well below 1 percent in the past five years, the country's Coast Guard said Tuesday.

The number of Chinese vessels that emerged near South Korea's northern sea border area, called Northern Limit Line (NLL), or the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Yellow Sea increased from 53,359 in 2012 to 95,064 in 2014 and reached over the 100,000 mark last year, according to the Coast Guard. This year's tally was 50,022 as of September, but is likely to increase during the winter season, it said.

Still, the seizure rate stood at 0.11 percent in 2012, with only 63 vessels having been caught, data showed. It was 0.04 percent in both 2014 and 2015.

"Even among the Chinese fishermen, they say it is extremely unlucky if they are caught by South Korea's Coast Guard," an official said, asking not to be named, citing office rules.

It is not easy to actually seize them as the authorities' boats in crackdown operations are outnumbered by the Chinese vessels, the official said.

There have been growing calls to toughen control over the Chinese boats poaching in South Korean waters as they have recently become more violent and organized.

On Friday, a 4.5-ton Coast Guard speedboat was sunk during an operation in the Yellow Sea after a 100-ton Chinese boat intentionally rear-ended it.

No one was hurt, but the incident showed the blatant disregard for the local law the Chinese fishermen exhibit when operating in South Korea's waters.

A number of Chinese fishing boats that were caught while operating illegally in Korea's exclusive zone are moored at a port in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Oct. 10, 2016. The growing seriousness of the problem from such illegal activities was reinforced on Oct. 7 when a Chinese boat intentionally collided and sank a South Korean Coast Guard vessel that was trying to stop illegal fishing. (Yonhap)


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