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S. Korea ratifies int'l deal to prevent commercial fishing in high Arctic seas

Diplomacy 21:18 October 30, 2019

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has ratified an international moratorium on commercial fishing in the high Arctic seas, Seoul's foreign ministry said Wednesday, in a move to protect marine resources in one of world's rapidly-warming places.

Five countries with Arctic shorelines -- the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark and Norway -- and five other parties -- South Korea, China, Japan, Iceland and the European Union -- reached a final agreement to prevent unregulated fishing in the high seas portion of the central Arctic Ocean in October last year.

South Korea became the sixth state that has ratified the agreement after Canada, the European Union, the United States, Japan and Russia, Seoul's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Under the accord, which will be valid for 16 years after taking effect, the countries will launch a joint research program to study what kind of fish are in the region -- roughly equivalent to the size of the Mediterranean Sea -- and whether they can be harvested sustainably, according to the ministry.

The relevant parties will go through a legal and technical review of its provisions before signing the agreement, which is likely to take place next year, the ministry said.

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