Stiffer fines for fishermen caught in Korea’s EEZ

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Stiffer fines for fishermen caught in Korea’s EEZ

Prosecutors said yesterday they will levy heavier fines on Chinese boats caught illegally fishing in Korea’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office said it has ordered prosecutors to raise the amount of security collateral for captured ships which trespass in the Korean EEZ from up to 70 million won ($62,056) to 100 million won beginning this month.

Those caught transferring fish to other ships will face a fine of up to 70 million won, while breaching fishing zones will be punishable with fines of up to 50 million won, 10 million won more than before.

The move follows 439 Chinese fishing boats caught illegally fishing in Korean waters during the January to November period, up 46 percent from a year earlier.

Prosecutors said they will stick to their policy of detaining suspects of violence on the sea for investigation while maintaining close cooperation with the National Maritime Police Agency to root out such offences.

A total of 58 crew members from Chinese fishing boats caught fishing illegally were arrested in the first 11 months of this year.

In a related move, Korea and Japan have agreed to join diplomatic forces in responding to any violation of waters or damage of fishing equipment of Korean and Japanese fishermen by their Chinese counterparts, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said.

The agreement was made at a meeting of fishery officials of both countries in Tokyo last week, a ministry spokesman said.

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