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S. Korea Doubles Fines Against Chinese vessels

Sustainability Politics

SOUTH KOREA and CHINA - The government will submit a bill next month for a law revision that would double fines against illegal fishing, in its latest effort to counteract Chinese fishing boats poaching in South Korean waters in the Yellow Sea, an official said Saturday.

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South Korea has vowed to take tougher measures against illegal fishing by Chinese vessels in the Yellow Sea after a coastguard officer was stabbed to death last month by a Chinese skipper during a raid on a Chinese boat for violating South Korean waters, reports YonhapNewsAgency.

Under the revision that needs to be approved by the National Assembly, the maximum fine levied against illegal fishing would rise to 200 million won (US$176,056) from the current 100 million won ceiling.

The revision would also allow coastguard officers to confiscate boats and equipment if they were captured being used for illegal fishing, according to the official at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The death of the coastguard officer sparked widespread anger in South Korea, prompting the government to announce a plan to mobilize military special forces to lead the fight against illegal fishing.

During a state visit to China by President Lee Myung-bak early this month, Seoul and Beijing agreed to continue regular consultative meetings to resolve the issue of illegal fishing by Chinese vessels.