13 July 2016
There has been intensified competition between fishermen from China, South Korea and North Korea to catch blue crabs around the disputed Northern Limit Line (NLL) in the Yellow Sea. As long as the maritime boundary between the two Koreas remains disputed, Chinese fishermen will continue to enter those waters.
After the Korean War was brought to a halt with the signing of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, the US-led United Nations Command in charge of defending South Korea drew up a maritime border to the west of the land-based Demilitarised Zone (DMZ). South Korea’s position is that North Korean ships are prohibited from crossing this maritime border known as the NLL. North Korea, however, does not recognise the NLL. This disputed maritime boundary between the two Koreas has led to exchange of fire in several deadly clashes over the years.
Fishermen from the two Koreas also have great interest in the disputed NLL area, especially during the peak blue crab season in June. In recent years, there has also been an increase in the number of Chinese fishermen who venture into this zone to catch these crabs due to their soaring prices – one kilogramme of blue crabs in China are reportedly sold for about US$30 now which is a three-fold increase from last year and a nine-fold increase from 2014. As a result of increased Chinese fishing, South Korea’s blue crab harvest in the first five months of this year reached only one third of what was caught in the same period last year, and less than one sixth of the corresponding figure for 2014, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.
… Shawn Ho is an Associate Research Fellow with the Regional Security Architecture Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 14/07/2016