INCEON, Jan.6 (Korea Bizwire) – The area between the northern limit line (NLL) in the West Sea and the fisheries control line of North Korea is actually the same as the DMZ.
The fisheries near the five northwestern border islands are close to the NLL, and fishing in the area is banned to protect South Korean ships and fish stocks.
However, Chinese fishing boats have been cleverly using the confrontational situation of the two Koreas and illegally fishing in the gray area, going back and forth in the NLL.
The South Korean Coast Guard is cracking down on the illegal Chinese fishing boats, but they often flee across the NLL to North Korean seas and come back when the coast is clear.
Chinese fishing boat captains are equipping their ships with sharp iron bars so that Coast Guard officers cannot board their vessels, and have responded violently with iron bars and axes when confronted.
However, there is one thing that the Chinese fishing boats dread – artificial reefs installed in the seas.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries asked the Korea Fisheries Resources Agency to install 10 artificial reefs near Daecheong Island in 2014.
The artificial reefs provide shelter for fish, and at the same time stop the Chinese trawlers that sweep fisheries in the area.
Since there are hooks on the top of the reefs, fishing nets are easily torn, forcing the Chinese fishing boats to stop their illegal actions.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries plans to expand installation of the artificial reefs, as they have proven to be effective in stopping illegal fishing, while avoiding physical conflict. A total of nine artificial reefs are scheduled to be installed in the sea east of Daecheong Island by the end of March.
Since the artificial reefs are made partly made of stone, they can also serve as a habitat for fishes.
A two billion won budget has also been approved to install 20 additional artificial reefs around the seas of the five northwestern border islands, and there are plans to install 100 more artificial reefs by the end of 2019.
Authorities comment that the effects of the artificial reefs have been huge, and residents of the five northwestern border islands engaging in fishing are asking for more of the structures to be installed. “Since it is the best way to crack down on illegal fishing without causing diplomatic conflict, and also protect fish stocks, we plan to install more in the near future,” officials noted.
By Francine Jung (email@example.com)
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