US removes South Korea from potential IUU list

Published on
January 30, 2020

The United States has removed South Korea from a preliminary list of countries that had potential for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU)  just four months after it was put on the list, according to a report in Business Korea.

The country had been listed back in September, and was identified in NOAA’s “Improving International Fisheries Management”  report as a country that had failed to sufficiently combat known IUU incidents. That listing was coupled with a first-ever complaint by the U.S., which consisted of a request for environment consultations under the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

The initial incident that sparked the complaint stemmed from two vessels flagged to South Korea – Hong Jin No. 701 and Southern Ocean – violating rules in the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in 2017. Those ships were penalized for the incident, but not enough for U.S. standards.

The NOAA report pointed out that while South Korea has criminal penalties for IUU, there were no administrative or civil remedies. Violators who had committed the IUU could go on to benefit and profit from their catch, with no mechanisms in place to prevent it.

South Korea has since initiated reforms, revising the Distant-Water Fisheries Development Act to allow regulators to quickly implement sanctions against offending vessels. While NGOs are urging caution, the effort was sufficient enough for South Korea to be removed from the preliminary IUU list.

Any country that gets fully listed or confirmed by the U.S. as a country allowing IUU is barred from exporting fishery products to the U.S.  

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock 

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