Fewer people farming fish, but output still up

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Fewer people farming fish, but output still up

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The number of fish farms in the country has fallen compared to last year, but output has increased significantly, an improvement the government says is largely due to the rising price of raw fish.

Figures released Thursday by Statistics Korea on the first half of this year showed the number of fish farms fell 5.4 percent from last year to 1,644, and the number of fish farmers fell 1.8 percent to 5,502 during the same period.

Output, however, rose 4 percent year on year to 43,816 tons, and its total worth in the market rose 19.7 percent to 488.1 billion won ($441.4 million).

“The number of fish farmers dropped because many small-size farms closed down as more business owners are getting older and competition in the local market is getting fiercer,” said Kim Jin, a director at the statistics agency. “Output, on the other hand, increased compared to the past as the price of certain types of fish such as red seabream rose significantly.”

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Fish farming continues to be a male-dominated industry in Korea, with 81.8 percent of farmers male and 18.2 percent female. The statistics agency said there were more men in the industry because of the large amount of manpower involved.

The southwestern province of South Jeolla had the highest number of fish farms at 585, encompassing 35.6 percent of the total, followed by the southeastern province of South Gyeongsang with 534 and the southern island of Jeju with 282.

By type, flatfish was the most cultivated during the first half of this year. Local fishermen raised 22,174 tons of flatfish, followed by 10,130 tons of rockfish and 4,553 tons of mullet.

The amount of feed given to fish rose 13.1 percent from last year to 247,353 tons as more fishermen farmed mid- to large-size fish.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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