Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page

The Sustainable Contribution of Fisheries to Food Security in the Republic of Korea

by

Yong-Ja Cho

1. Introduction

This report was prepared as part of the study on the fisheries contribution to food security in Asia. The report provides a brief review of the status of the fisheries of the Republic of Korea, fish food consumption, issues affecting demand and supply of fishery products, and implications for future fishery policies. The terms of reference for the study is attached as Annex 1.

2. Fisheries in the Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea, with a population of 44.5 million in 1994, occupies the southern 45 percent of the Korean peninsula that is surrounded by the East Sea (western part of the Sea of Japan) in the east, the Yellow Sea in the west and the South Sea in the south (extension of the Yellow Sea and a northern part of the East China Sea). Located between the longitudes 122 5' and 133 5' and latitudes 31 and 38, the Republic of Korea has a coast-line of 11,540 km and about 3,200 islands. The marine area falling under the national jurisdiction of the Republic of Korea on the basis of delimitation by the median-line-equidistance formula is about 317,000 km2 which is about 3.2 times the land area (99,262 km2) and about fourteen times the arable land area (about 23 percent of the land area).

The East Sea is a semi-enclosed basin reaching more than 3,000 m in depth. The warm and saline water from the Kuroshio enters through its southern inlet and forms the Tushsima current in the upper 300 m. The East Sea deepens abruptly, forming a number of deep basins between ridges and surrounding margins. The 1,700 km of the east coast is characterized by a narrow shelf with a straight coastal line.

The Yellow Sea is a shallow, post-glacially-submerged epicontinental sea bounded on the east by a long stretch of ria-type coast. The Yellow Sea floor is rather flat and progressively deepens toward the southeast to form the Okina Trough in the northern East China Sea.

Table 1. Characteristics of the seas surrounding the Korean peninsula

 

East Sea

Yellow Sea

East China Sea

Area (km2)

1 013 000

417 000

752 000

Mean depth (m)

1 667

44

272

Volume (km3)

1 690 000

18 000

209 000

Continental shelf area (1-200 m)

23.5%

100%

81.3%

Continental slope area (200-1,000 m)

15.2%

0

11.4%

Deep basin area

61.3%

0

7.3%

Source: MOMAF. Correspondence.

Table 2. Average sea temperatures

(Unit in C)

 

Winter

Spring

Summer

Autumn

 

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

East Sea

7-15

6-15

2-20

5-17

18-26

6-21

16-24

7-24

South Sea

9-16

10-16

11-20

11-19

23-27

11-22

20-25

12-25

West Sea

4-10

4-11

6-18

6-15

19-25

9-20

17-21

10-20

Source: MOMAF. Correspondence.

The East China Sea is a broad continental shelf with depths less than 200 m. Its hydrography is strongly influenced by the vast amount of freshwater discharge from the Chanchian (Yangtze) and Huang Ho (Yellow) Rivers. The sediment transported from the two large rivers is estimated to be 1,500 million mt/year which is equivalent to the world's largest, the Ganges-Bramaputra river input. The circulation of this sea seems to be influenced by the prevailing northwestly wind in colder seasons, by river discharge and by intrusion of the Kuroshio. The Yellow and South Seas are stratified in summer and well mixed in winter. The South Sea is also shallow and flat, similar to the Yellow Sea, but characterized mostly by rugged embayments.

The seas are in the temperate zone, and their temperatures vary according to weather and ocean current. Annual fluctuation has been approximately 1-5 C.

Table 2. Average sea temperatures

(Unit in C)

 

Winter

Spring

Summer

Autumn

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

surface

at 50 m

East Sea

7-15

6-15

2-20

5-17

18-26

6-21

16-24

7-24

South Sea

9-16

10-16

11-20

11-19

23-27

11-22

20-25

12-25

West Sea

4-10

4-11

6-18

6-15

19-25

9-20

17-21

10-20

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

With many islands and diverse characteristics, the seas surrounding the Republic of Korea provide good habitats for the 100 aquatic species found in the coastal waters. According to 1994 FAO fishery statistics, the Republic of Korea is the tenth largest fisheries producer in the world. Major species of fish produced are anchovy, mackerel, hairtail, squid, Alaskan pollock, tuna, croakers, Pacific saury, crab, shellfish such as oysters, abalone, cockles and top shells, and seaweeds such as laver, seamustard and fusiforme.

Whilst the fisheries sector has contributed less than 1 percent of GNP (about 0.75 percent) in the 1990s, it has made an important contribution to the diet and livelihood of the people and to the nation's export earnings. In 1994, about 45.5 percent of animal protein was supplied by fishery products, with average consumption of 44.8 kg of fishery products per caput per year, which is 3.4 times larger than the world average of 13.0 kg and 1.9 times the average fish consumption of Southeast Asia (23.8 kg).

The fisheries sector also provides employment opportunities to nearly 200,000 people engaged in fishing or fishfarming activities. On the basis of the assumption that each employment in primary economic activities generates four or more employment opportunities in secondary and related economic activities, it can be said that the fisheries sector supports the livelihood of more than one million people. The average income of fishing households has increased significantly, from 4,869,000 Korean Wons (krw) in 1985 to 18,790,000 krw in 1995. However, it remains at about 86 percent of the average income of agricultural households and 82 percent of city households.

Until the early 1960s, the fisheries sector consisted mainly of coastal fishing. However, since the development of aquaculture and the deep-sea fishing industry in the 1970s and 1980s, the fisheries industry has diversified. Total domestic fisheries production has remained at about 3.2 to 3.4 million mt per year for the last ten years. While fisheries contributes about 52 percent (valued at approximately US$ 1.7 billion in 1995) of total exports of agricultural products, imports of fishery products have accelerated since the early 1980s. Total fishery imports in 1995 reached 416,149 mt, which was about 9 times higher than in 1980 (46,818 mt).

In common with other industries, the fisheries sector has made impressive progress over the years, but is going through a major transition, from a centralized system to a decentralized one. Additionally, the fisheries sector encounters a variety of difficulties. They include the impact of the introduction of 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) by many coastal nations that significantly reduce fishing areas, intensified fishing regulations for resource management, increased financial burden from high fishing permit fees, the decline in abundance of fisheries resources, and escalating labor costs. Other difficulties are the impact of trade liberalization and increasing incidents of marine pollution from all sources, including industrialization and reclamation of coastal areas that negatively affect fish habitats and reduce fishing grounds.

The judicious use of the inland, coastal and marine resources is an important challenge as the country is poorly endowed with land resources. The critical task facing the sector is effective and efficient implementation of policies and management interventions that are environmentally sound, socially equitable and consistent with new global trade and ocean management policies.

3. Fisheries and Food Security

Food is one of the basic needs of human beings. Food security at the individual level means the continued accessibility and availability of food at affordable prices. Thus, one of the essential roles of the government is to ensure that adequate amounts and variety of foods are available and that individuals have the means to purchase them.

Fish, a source of high-quality animal protein, is also rich in micro-nutrients such as vitamins A and D, calcium, iodine, and is rich in fatty acids essential for the proper development of the brain and body and the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. These micro-nutrients are not commonly found in staple foods. Supplementing staple foods with fish food is known to be important to the well-being of human beings, particularly children and the elderly.

The Republic of Korea is a coastal country and the people have always depended on the sea as one of their main sources of food. Fish, rice and vegetables have been the staple diet of Koreans. Although the percentage of fish as a source of animal protein in the diet decreased to 45.4 percent in 1994 from 64 percent in 1970 and 70 percent in 1962, the quantity of fish food consumed had increased to 44.8 kg/caput/yr in 1994 from 17.3 kg/caput/yr in 1970 (see Table 15).

In addition to providing food, fisheries also contributes to the employment and income opportunities of many people engaged in fishing or fishfarming activities, and contributes to the national economy. Nearly 200,000 people are directly involved in fisheries, on either a full-time or a part-time basis, mostly in small-scale coastal fishing or aquaculture (see Table 4 and Table 19). The economic contributions of fisheries are much larger if secondary and supporting industries are included.

Although the absolute value has increased, the percentage contribution of the fisheries sector to the gross national product (GNP) has declined over the years as the growth rates of other sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, mining, and services, have been much faster than that of fisheries.

Table 3. Percentage contribution to GNP by sector

 

Total GNP (US$ 109)

Agriculture

Forestry

Fisheries

Manufacturing & mining

Construction & energy

Service

1970

n/a

23.3

1.7

1.6

22.5

6.5

44.3

1975

209

22.0

1.3

1.6

27.5

5.9

41.7

1980

606

12.7

1.0

1.2

29.7

10.1

45.5

1985

911

10.6

0.7

1.2

30.5

10.6

46.5

1990

2 518

7.4

0.4

0.9

29.7

13.7

47.9

1991

2 920

6.5

0.3

0.9

29.0

16.0

47.3

1992

3 057

6.3

0.3

0.8

28.1

15.9

48.6

1993

3 308

6.0

0.3

0.8

27.3

16.2

49.4

1994

3 780

5.9

0.3

0.8

27.2

15.8

49.9

% change btwn `75-`94

+1 809

-73

-77

-50

-1

+268

+20

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

4. Fisheries Sector

4.1 Status of the Fisheries Industry

The establishment of the fisheries law in 1953 laid the foundation for the fisheries sector. In order to meet domestic and export needs, fisheries policies stressed increased production. The fisheries strategies in the first (1962-66) and second (1967-71) national economic development plans aimed to protect coastal fisheries resources; develop aquaculture and deep sea fishing; develop infrastructure such as cold storage and fishing ports; strengthen fishing efforts; improve fishing gear; and develop quick processing capacities in fishing villages.

In the third (1972-76) and fourth (1977-81) national economic development plans, fisheries policies were targeted to expand aquaculture, particularly culture of shellfish; update port facilities; modernize fishing vessels; develop facilities for distribution and marketing; strengthen processing industries; develop and transfer fisheries technologies; manage deep sea fishing; develop inland fisheries; develop fishing communities; and manage fisheries resources.

The strategies of the fifth (1982-86) national economic development plan were oriented to intensification of management of coastal fisheries resources, including promotion of the concept "from fishing to ranching" in the coastal waters; intensification of fisheries technology development and transfer; development of skilled and experienced human resources; improvement of distribution and marketing channels; decommissioning old and inefficient fishing vessels; and strengthening port capacities. In the sixth national development plan (1987-91), priority was given to management of fisheries resources, including rehabilitation of fish habitats and removal of wastes and pollutants from fishing and fishfarming areas; holistic development of fishing and fishfarming communities; and development and transfer of technologies for both production and post-harvest handling and processing.

Fisheries was considered a strategic industry supplying food and contributing to the national economy, and fisheries policies encouraged intensified investment efforts. However, the sector has been affected by changes in national and international economic and trade policies of recent years and inadequate attention given to the impact of the policies of the fisheries and other sectors on aquatic resources and environment. Current policies are directed toward management and rehabilitation of aquatic environments and resources; skilled and specialized human resource development; holistic development of fishing and fishfarming communities; and comprehensive, integrated coastal areas.

4.2 Trends in Fish Production

Although fisheries production levels have not changed significantly, the number of persons directly employed in the fisheries sector has declined by 23 percent over the past ten years. However, the number of women and persons over the age of fifty who work in the fisheries sector has increased, showing a trend of fewer young men entering this sector. Possible reasons for this are: the availability of alternative employment opportunities, limited opportunities for maintaining a satisfactory livelihood within the fisheries sector, difficulties in obtaining fishing permits, difficulties in accessing fishing grounds, the high cost of fishing and fishfarming, declining fisheries resources, and use of labour-saving devices and measures.

Table 4. Number of persons employed in the fisheries sector (1,000s)

 

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

Total

260.3

211.8

204.6

206.6

206.6

197.8

Distribution

Men

156.9

118.7

113.0

108.7

106.9

101.3

by gender

Women

103.4
(39.7%)

93.1
(44%)

91.6
(44.8%)

97.9
(47.4%)

99.7
(48.3%)

96.5
(48.8%)

Distribution

15-19 yrs.

4.6

1.5

1.4

0.9

0.7

0.4

by age

20-49 yrs.

175.5

126.0

115.8

109.1

105.8

97.0

Over 50 yrs.

80.2
(30.8%)

84.3
(39.8%)

87.4
(42.7%)

96.6
(46.8%)

100.1
(48.5%)

100.4
(50.8%)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

Table 5. Number of fishing vessels by tonnage

 

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

< 1 mt

34 428

38 135

36 675

32 234

24 592

27 522 (35.3%)

1-5 mt

52 797

52 877

44 515

42 186

39 753

36 743 (47.2%)

5-50 mt

9 082

9 457

9 595

9 800

9 711

10 297 (13.2%)

50-100 mt

1 937

1 941

1 910

1 945

1 938

1 906 (2.5%)

100-200 mt

630

665

685

670

698

684 (0.9%)

>200 mt

784

773

755

638

699

716 (0.9%)

Total

99 658

103 848

94 135

87 473

77 391

77 868 (100%)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

The number of fishing vessels/boats increased considerably until 1991, reaching 103,848. But since then, the fishing capacity has been reduced. The number of vessels in 1995 was about 86 percent of the 1985 total, but total tonnage in 1995 was 118 percent of the 1985 total. Over 64 percent of the 77,868 vessels in 1995 were very small, i.e., less than 5 mt, and 13 percent were between 5 and 50 mt. Fewer than 2 percent of fishing vessels are over 50 mt. This may be explained by the fact that over 90 percent of the vessels are used for coastal fishing, aquaculture or inland fisheries. Fewer than 1 percent of fishing vessels are used for deep sea fishing.

The number of fishing households with powered vessels doubled in the 1980s, while the number of fishing households without powered vessels decreased drastically. Of the 104,000 families working in the fishery sector, about 34 percent fish with powered vessels; 33 percent are in aquaculture and 32 percent fish without fishing vessels.

Table 6. Number of fishing vessels by fishing activities

 

Coastal fishing

Aquaculture

Inland fishing

Deep Sea fishing

Other

Total

Total
powered

Total non-powered

1970

 

 

 

 

 

 

(20.6%)

(79.4%)

1980

 

 

 

 

 

77 574

51 113

26 461

1985

50 457

36 388

3 089

651

385

90 970

71 836

19 134

1990

57 648

37 831

3 057

783

339

99 658

79 365

20 293

1991

56 911

40 928

3 181

771

2 057

103 848

84 024

19 824

1992

55 795

31 734

2 967

734

2 905

94 135

76 825

17 310

1993

53 163

26 857

3 044

734

3 863

87 661

73 026

14 635

1994

50 061

21 483

2 501

616

2 730

77 391

70 082

7 309

1995

51 664
(66.4%)

20 408
(26.2%)

2 493
(3.2%)

637
(0.8%)

2 656
(3.4%)

77 858
(100%)

71 077
(91.3%)

6 781
(8.7%)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

Table 7. Use of fishing vessels by fishing households (1,000 households)

 

Total

Households without vessel

Households with non-powered vessel

Households with powered vessel

Households in aquaculture

1980

134.1

46.4 (34.6)

14.3 (10.7)

17.5 (13.0)

55.6 (41.7)

1990

121.5

32.7 (26.9)

2.9 (2.4)

36.2 (29.8)

49.7 (40.9)

1991

119.7

31.4 (26.2)

2.8 (2.3)

36.6 (30.6)

48.9 (40.9)

1992

116.2

33.9 (29.2)

2.0 (1.7)

35.4 (30.5)

44.9 (38.6)

1993

113.6

33.8 (29.2)

1.8 (1.6)

35.2 (31.0)

42.8 (37.7)

1994

110.4

33.8 (29.7)

1.7 (1.5)

35.5 (32.2)

39.5 (35.8)

1995

104.4

33.4 (32.0)

2.0 (1.9)

35.1 (33.6)

33.9 (32.5)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

Fishery production increased impressively until the mid 1980s, peaking early in the 1990s. Since then, production has leveled off. Important species of fish produced are anchovy, mackerel, hairtail, yellow corvenia, squid, Alaska pollock, tuna, croakers, Pacific saury, crab, akiami paste shrimp, shellfish such as oysters, abalone, cockles and top shells, and seaweeds such as laver, seamustard and fusiforme.

Table 8. Fisheries production (1,000 mt)

 

Total production

Coastal fisheries

Inshore fisheries

Deep-sea fisheries

Aquaculture

Inland fisheries

1970

935

455
(48.7%)

271
(30%)

90
(9.6%)

119
(12.7%)

-

1975

2 135

819

390

566

351

9

1980

2 410

803
(33.3%)

569
(23.6%)

458
(19%)

541
(22.5%)

39
(1.6%)

1985

3 103

838

657

767

788

53

1990

3 275

798

744

925

773

35

1991

2 983

801

503

874

775

30

1992

3 289

759

536

1 024

936

34

1993

3 336

899

627

741

1 038

31

1994

3 477

921

566

887

1 072

31

1995

3 347

814

611

897

997

29

Value (in 109 Krw)

41 224

24 794

8 860

6 480

1 090

% increase between 1985-95

7.9

-3.0

-7.0

16.7

26.5

-45.0

Average during 1991-95

3 286
(99.9%)

837
(25.5%)

569
(17.3%)

885
(26.9%)

963
(29.3%)

31
(0.9%)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

Table 9. Production by key species

(Unit in mt)

 

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

Common carp

7 299

10 778

8 416

13 213

11 529

14 137

Yellow striped flounder

15 856

13 204

13 143

14 631

13 505

13 343

Alaska pollock

385 394

321 496

197 788

335 422

226 098

31 1574

Whitespotted conger

23 368

22 053

22 337

24 163

29 882

2 1703

Large yellow croaker

12 698

15 091

20 199

24 122

20 680

2 6613

Yellow croaker

18 575

27 890

37 422

39 672

31 119

3 7488

Croakers, drums nei

53 291

65 287

80 859

69 502

88 381

9 2625

Porgies, seabreams, nei

12 424

19 028

19 406

17 801

14 772

1 6879

Atlantic redfishes

29 678

14 866

5 761

15 215

3 687

-

Threadsail filefish

159 104

230 252

70 454

34 872

11 365

4 382

Pacific saury

3 367

23 103

29 034

34 153

40 889

35 082

Japanese jack mackerel

22 969

17 376

16 259

27 715

38 095

38 433

Japanese sardinella

7 280

4 205

4 463

3 597

24 383

23 974

Japanese anchovy

131 855

168 101

170 293

168 235

249 209

193 398

Skijack tuna

80 958

138 491

171 975

115 295

73 993

145 541

Yellowfin tuna

53 454

56 473

69 344

83 816

67 520

64 825

Bigeye tuna

30 936

33 940

23 301

25 202

24 840

30 604

Largehead hairtail

102 399

103 970

95 662

87 325

58 035

101 052

Chub mackerel

163 667

97 232

91 557

116 425

174 798

211 233

Gazami crab

28 753

23 415

18 729

17 317

10 419

21 483

Marine crab

21 539

30 316

34 767

30 000

40 620

56 552

Akiami paste shrimp

21 493

24 568

18 138

29 348

24 324

18 510

Natantiam decapods nei

24 215

26 964

24 042

25 305

35 180

29 614

Pacific cupped oyster

256 262

235 276

231 936

252 852

286 427

193 023

Korean mussel

14 181

15 506

15 993

15 992

57 454

42 495

Ark clams

23 572

18 773

17 512

21 461

12 166

14 247

Cattlefishes

19 796

17 623

11 253

7 471

7 150

4 469

Japanese carpet shell

83 843

74 608

58 133

67 418

41 248

33 630

Japanese flying squid

65 885

75 293

109 902

139 792

222 009

191 857

Marine molluscs nei

15 945

15 288

17 544

18 198

23 769

20 303

Sea squirts nei

2 4643

20 990

7 216

5 099

14 325

45 000

Source: FAO. Fishery Statistics Yearbook 1994, Catch and Landing. Vol. 78.

The Republic of Korea's fishery supply and demand amounted to about 4.6 million mt in 1995. Demand can be divided into 3.5 million mt for domestic consumption and 1.1 million mt for export. Approximately 78 percent of the supply (i.e., 3.6 million mt, including about 0.4 mt of carry-over from the previous year) was produced domestically, and approximately 1 million mt were imported in 1995.

Marine capture fisheries

Coastal Fisheries - The Republic of Korea's long coast lines and peripheral waters that contain a mixture of warm and cold waters, provide favorable living conditions for a variety of aquatic species. Coastal fishing expanded into the South Sea in the 1960s and to the Yellow Sea, East China Sea and East Sea in the 1970s. Key species caught from the coastal waters included anchovy, squid and mackerel.

Coastal fisheries play two important roles: they serve as a major income source for small-scale and subsistence-level fishing households, and supply high-quality fishes for domestic consumption. Fishing activities have been a way of life for many coastal communities, but commercial fisheries have been developing since the 1960s. With the modernization of fishing vessels in the 1970s and 1980s, the fishing efforts in the coastal waters increased drastically. However, production from coastal fishing has leveled off since the mid 1980s. Coastal fisheries provided 79 percent of total fishery production in 1970, 56 percent in 1980 and 43 percent in the 1990s.

It is generally recognized that the coastal fisheries resources have been utilized to full capacity, so that fishing effort now is not commensurate with the regenerative capacities of the resources. Additionally, the coastal fisheries resources are adversely affected by the loss of habitats and environmental degradation and contamination caused by various human activities both on land and in the seas. One indication of environmental damage is the incidence of harmful algal blooms. The cost of rehabilitation of damage by algal blooms in 1995 was estimated at approximately US$ 100 million.

Table 10. Number of reported harmful algal blooms

 

1980

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

No. of incidents

5

7

41

40

25

38

29

65

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

Deep Sea Fishing - Deep sea fishing by the Republic of Korea began with tuna fishing in the Indian Ocean in 1957. Until the late 1970s, the output of tuna fishing and squid fishing steadily increased.

The enforcement of international maritime laws (UNCLOS) affected deep sea fishing. In particular, in 1977, the USA and the Russian Federation proclaimed 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zones, prompting many other nations to enact similar declarations to ensure full benefits from the marine resources in their EEZs. This inevitably led to reduction of fishing areas. Nations also began demanding expensive fishing permit fees, the landing of catches at their national ports for processing or export, and other controlling measures. Deep sea fishing fleets of the Republic of Korea thus found themselves in a rather unfavorable position. To deal with it, the Government intensified its efforts in international fisheries cooperation with a number of coastal states, including negotiations for potential fishing areas and joint fisheries development and management. It also encouraged rationalization of the deep sea fishing industry.

At the end of 1995, a total of 637 vessels operated in five oceans, catching mainly tuna, squid, anchovy and shrimp for domestic consumption and export. Deep sea fishing accounted for about 26.8 percent of the total catch in 1995.

Inland capture fisheries

Inland water makes up about 2 percent of the total area of the Republic of Korea, and produces about 15 types of fishes, including eel, trout and Israeli carp. Production from inland fisheries in 1995 was about 29,000 mt, less than 1 percent of total fisheries production. However, inland or freshwater aquaculture is becoming more common. Aside from providing places for fisheries production, inland water fisheries also provide recreational opportunities, thus contributing to the local economy.

Aquaculture

Cultivation Fisheries - Cultivation fisheries is an industry in which fish fry are produced and reared in hatcheries, released into a natural environment, and then caught for consumption. Cultivation fisheries has primarily been implemented at the eleven fishery cultivation centers currently in operation. These centers undertake technology research for the production, release and reproduction of fish fry.

Aquaculture - Aquaculture is of great importance, particularly since the introduction of 200-mile EEZs by many coastal nations. In recent years, emphasis in fisheries policy of the Republic of Korea has shifted from capture fisheries to culture fisheries. Through technical innovations, aquaculture has expanded rapidly, and the application of culture techniques has diversified into various species groups, i.e., development and expansion of seaweed culture in the 1960s, shellfish culture in the 1970s and finfish culture in the 1980s. Current strategies for aquaculture development include infrastructure development for mass production of seeds; intensified efforts in stock enhancement and inland aquaculture; promotion of local specialty species; genetic improvement and conservation; culture species diversification; and development of culture technologies and systems, including integrated farming systems.

Table 11. Aquaculture production by major species (mt)

 

Fish

Shellfish

Others

Subtotal*

Seaweed

1985

3 745

369 722

19 575

393 042

397 498

1990

17 934

326 447

32 302

376 683

411 882

1991

16 939

308 322

16 968

342 229

445 538

1992

24 343

339 438

11 726

375 507

579 970

1993

23 760

346 072

22 343

392 175

664 328

1994

27 445

264 753

50 587

342 785

750 206

1995**

28 725

312 250

26 740

367 715

649 100

Source: FAO. Aquaculture Statistics 1985-94.
* Total of fish, shellfish and other aquatic animals.
** Source. MOMAF. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996.

At the end of 1995, some 40 fish species were being cultured in a total of 1,067 ha of inland waters and 109,000 ha of coastal waters and contributing about 30 percent of total fisheries production. It is interesting to note that nearly 60 percent of coastal culture areas are used for seaweeds, followed by 37 percent for shellfish; the area used for culture of fish is only about 2 percent. In terms of ownership, 49 percent (4,294 business units) were operated by communities or fisheries cooperatives; 26 percent (2,307 units) by corporations and 25 percent (2,169 units) by individuals.

Table 12. Coastal areas used for aquaculture (in ha)

 

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Fish

216
(0.2 %)

1 260
(1.1%)

1 196
(1.1%)

1 281
(1.2%)

1 348
(1.2%)

1 512|
(1.4%)

2 234
(2.1%)

Shellfish

43 471
(44.9%)

40 071
(35.5%)

38 981
(35.6%)

38 520
(35.6%)

38 654
(35.5%)

39 390
(36.3%)

40 365
(37.1%)

Seaweed

51 547
(53.2%)

68 428
(60.5%)

66 109
(60.5%)

65 503
(60.5%)

66 091
(60.6%)

64 856
(59.7%)

62 807
(57.7%)

Other

1 651
(1.7%)

3 267
(2.9%)

3 096
(2.8%)

2 937
(2.7%)

2 942
(2.7%)

2 879
(2.6%)

3 356
(3.1%)

Total

96 885

113 026

109 382

108,241

109 035

108 637

108 762

Owned by communities or fisheries cooperatives

58 350
(60%)

78 698
(70%)

74 114
(68%)

74 249
(69%)

76 481
(70%)

76 772
(71%)

77 885
(71%)

Owned by individuals or corporations

38 535
(40%)

34 328
(30%)

35 268
(32%)

33 992
(31%)

32 554
(30%)

31 865
(29%)

30 877
(29%)

Sources: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996, 1994, 1993.

To further develop this sector and efficiently implement the coastal development plan, the Fishery Act was revised in 1991. However, aquaculture is severely affected by environmental degradation and pollution caused by both land and marine sources, tideland reclamation, intensified culture, the high density of fishfarms, and inadequate management of the aquaculture environment. At the same time, concerns were raised about the impact of coastal aquaculture on fish habitats, particularly spawning and nursery grounds.

Fishing ports and markets

Fisheries is different from other sectors in that it depends on nature for much of its production. It is difficult to schedule and/or plan its production as is normally done in manufacturing industries. This requires careful monitoring of pricing policy, supply and demand, and well-coordinated distribution systems, including processing and storage facilities. An added dimension is that with increasing production of fish food and growing demand for variety in processed fishery products, it is expected that the quantity and variety of processed fishery products will continue to grow. To ensure the quality of fishery products, standardized packaging and a product quality certification system have been implemented, laying the basis for the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) system.

To facilitate efficient distribution and hygienic handling and processing, fisheries cooperatives, in collaboration with the government, have upgraded and improved facilities of fish markets at the production/landing sites and transportation facilities, including waste water treatment facilities. At the same time, direct marketing is promoted in order to reduce delay in delivery and involvement of middlemen, thus increasing the income of the producers. Wholesale markets for direct marketing are being developed in several locations around the country.

Table 13. Number of fishing ports

 

Total

Completed by 1994

To be completed in 1995

Total

415

86

10

Type 1 & 3 (managed by the MOMAF)

89

48

(4)

Type 2 (managed by local government)

326

38

6

Sources: MOMAF. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries 1996.

Fishing ports serve as the first connecting point in the fish food delivery and distribution channel, and are the points around which the life of fishing communities centres. Therefore, well-functioning fishing ports are considered essential not only for fisheries, but also for the well-being of fishing and fishfarming communities. Efforts have been directed to the development of comprehensive fishing ports that encompass all basic facilities and functions, from maintenance of fishing vessels and gear, landing of catches, and quick processing, to transportation, distribution, information dissemination, and communication. There are 415 designated fishing ports being developed and improved.

Approximately 75 percent of the production from coastal waters has been processed, yielding mainly frozen, dried, canned and other such products.

Since 1962, the export of fisheries products has increased, but the relative proportion of fisheries exports to total national exports has been decreasing. In the 1960s, fisheries exports amounted to 20 percent of total national exports. In 1995, it represented only 1.4 percent of total exports, or about US$ 1.72 billion. On the other hand, with the increase in personal income, there is increasing consumer demand for diversified high-quality fish products that are suitable for the changing life style. As production from national waters stagnates, imports of fishery products have been increasing (more than doubled) during the past five years, and the margin between export earnings and import spending is being narrowed.

Table 14. Export and Import of fishery products

 

1980

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Export (volume in 103 mt)

376

432

455

492

437

371

385

437

(value in US$ 106)

871

891

1 513

1 643

1 518

1 497

1 647

1 721

Import (volume in 103 mt)

47

91

286

366

328

356

381

416

(value in US$ 106)

37

83

368

576

506

542

726

843

Sources: MOMAF. Correspondence.

Presently, the Republic of Korea exports fishery products to over 70 countries, with 90 percent of the products going to Japan, the USA, the People's Republic of China, Spain, Thailand, France, Italy and Taiwan Province of China. At the same time, fishery products are imported from some 60 countries, with over 67 percent coming from the Russian Federation, the USA, the People's Republic of China, Japan, and Argentina.

5. Contribution to Food Security

5.1 As Food

As the Republic of Korea is a coastal nation, fish, along with rice and vegetables, has been one of the main staples of its people. However, there has been a marked shift in the food consumption pattern of the people of the Republic of Korea. Per-caput consumption of rice, the main staple, declined to 114.5 kg in 1992 from 130.4 kg in 1970, a decline of about 6.7 percent. During the same period, consumption of meats increased 3.4 times, dairy products 17 times, fish 2.4 times, fruits and vegetables 2.5 times, and oil and fats 9 times.

Table 15. Annual food consumption (in kg)

 

Rice

Fruits & vegetables

Meat

Dairy Products

Fish*

Oils & fats

1970

130.4

69.9

8.3

1.8

17.3

1.5

1975

119.8

76.5

9.3

4.4

29.9

2.7

1980

132.9

136.8

13.9

10.8

27.0

5.0

1985

128.0

125.2

16.5

23.1

37.2

9.2

1990

120.8

161.6

23.6

31.8

36.2

14.3

1992

114.5

173.5

27.5

32.0

40.5

13.9

1993

113.7

188.6

28.6

34.8

43.3

13.3

1994

112.6

175.8

28.8

32.8

44.8

13.9

* All fishery products, including shellfish and molluscs.

Source: Park, S. K. and M. S. Chung. 1994. Consumption Pattern of Fishery Products and Supply Projection.

Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 44 pp. MOMAF. Correspondence.

Table 16. Daily protein consumption (in grams)

 

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1992

1993

1994

Vegetable

Grain

40.19

40.44

36.93

41.41

38.41

38.26

36.99

37.90

protein

Root crop

8.18

8.87

8.91

10.14

9.49

9.26

8.87

10.13

Others

6.12

6.61

7.62

6.53

8.22

9.12

10.36

10.13

Subtotal

54.49

55.92

53.46

58.08

56.12

56.64

56.22

58.16

Animal

Meat

4.07

4.90

9.49

12.08

17.25

18.36

19.45

19.79

protein

Fish*

6.59

10.31

10.66

16.44

15.88

15.19

16.04

16.52

Others

n/a

n/a

n/a

0.01

0.02

0.02

n/a

n/a

Subtotal

10.66

15.21

20.15

28.53

33.15

33.57

35.49

36.31

Total

65.15

71.13

73.61

86.61

89.27

90.21

91.71

94.55

* All fishery products, including shellfish and molluscs.

Source: MOMAF. Correspondence.

In terms of protein consumption, while consumption of vegetable protein has remained relatively stable at approximately 56 g/day, consumption of animal protein has increased significantly over the past two decades. Fish was the main source of animal protein; in the 1970s fish provided about 2/3 of the animal protein in the diet. With the increase in personal income in the 1980s, protein intake increased significantly and so did the popularity of red meats. Consequently, consumption of meats surpassed that of fish in 1989. However, it should be noted that although the relative contribution of fish to animal protein intake declined to 45 percent in 1995, the quantity of fish food consumed per person was increasing, reaching about 45 kg/person/year in 1995. The per-caput consumption in the Republic of Korea is about 3.5 times the world average of 13 kg and 1.9 times that of Southeast Asia which is known as the major fish-eating region of the world.

Table 17. Annual fish food consumption pattern by type (in kg)

 

1970

1975

1980

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

Total

17.3

29.9

27.0

37.2

36.2

35.9

40.5

43.3

44.8

% increase

72.8

-9.7

37.8

-2.7

-0.8

12.8

6.9

3.5

Fish

14.7

24.6

22.5

30.7

30.5

28.9

29.7

31.6

32.5

Shellfish & seaweed

2.6

5.3

4.5

6.5

5.7

7.0

10.8

11.7

12.3

Source: MOMAF. Correspondence.

In the 1990s, the fish food consumption of the people of the Republic of Korea has increased at an annual rate of about 5.6 percent. However, it is interesting to note that consumption of shellfish and seaweed has increased at a much higher rate (about 22.6 percent annually) than that of fish (about 1.7 percent annually). On the basis of the above statistics, one can project that fish food consumption could reach about 60 kg/caput/yr by 2000.

5.2 As Employment/Income

In addition to providing fish food, fisheries is an important source of income for over 100 thousand fishing and fishfarming households and nearly 200 thousand people working in fishing and fishfarming. It should be noted that the economic activities generated by fisheries would be much higher if secondary industries such as post-harvest processing, marketing, and other supporting industries were included.

In terms of the fisheries contribution to employment, while the total value of fishery production has increased, the number of persons directly engaged in the fisheries sector has decreased. Since 1970, the population has increased by 38 percent, while the number of fishing households has decreased by 47 percent and the number of persons in fishing households has decreased by 70 percent. Similarly, employment in the fisheries sector decreased by 24 percent between 1985 and 1994 (see Table 4). This indicates a significant manpower drain from fisheries to other sectors.

Table 18. Population and number of fishing households (1,000s)

 

1970

1980

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Total population

32 241

38 124

40 806

42 869

43 268

43 663

44 056

44 453

44 606

Fishing Households

195

157

145

122

120

116

114

110

104

Persons in Fishing Households

1 165

894

844

689

496

425

405

382

347

Source: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries. 1996; 1994; 1993.

In 1994, fishing was the principal occupation of about 22 percent of the fishing households, and 78 percent of the fishing households combined fishing with other occupations such as agriculture, commerce and office work. In terms of types of fishing activity, 32.5 percent of fishing households were engaged in aquaculture; 35.7 percent in fishing using vessels and 32 percent in fishing without vessels.

A variety of actions has been implemented to improve the socioeconomic conditions of fishing and fishfarming communities, particularly through the Semaul Movement and development of small-scale fisheries in the 1970s. However, national priority was given to the development of high-growth industries and large urban areas where the population density is much higher. The statistics show that while the income of fishing households increased significantly over the years, it still lags behind the incomes of farm and city households. It has also been pointed out that within the fisheries sector, the income levels vary widely, depending upon the location of fishing communities, e.g. remote islands, mainland, close to urban areas.

Table 19. Income of fishing households (1,000 Krw)

 

1985

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

Fishing households

4 869

10 023

11 309

12 371

14 432

17 110

18 780

Increase

(106%)

(12.8%)

(9.4%)

(16.7%)

(18.6%)

(9.8%)

Fisheries

2 815

5 216

5 285

6 036

6 222

8 665

9 437

Other sources

1 553

3 192

3 776

4 217

4 685

5 719

6 075

Transferred
income

501

1 615

2 248

2 118

3 525

2 726

3 268

Farm (agriculture) households

5 736

11 026

13 105

14 505

16 928

20 316

21 803

City households

7 172

11 319

13 903

16 273

17 734

20 416

22 933

Source: MOMAF and NFA. Annual Report of Korean Fisheries. 1996; 1994; 1993.

Consequently, a number of social issues have emerged in fishing and fishfarming communities. The key issues include: (i) a decline in the number of persons employed in fisheries; (ii) difficulty in recruiting young male employees; and (iii) difficulty in recruiting or maintaining educated and skilled personnel (see Table 4). These issues will have serious implications for the development of the fisheries of the Republic of Korea so as to meet the growing demands for diversified, quality fish food suitable for the changing life style of the newly industrialized country.

5.3 Supporting Economic Wealth

The main factors affecting food consumption are availability, relative price, income, culture, changes in social conditions, e.g. growth and composition of population, lifestyle and family structure, and general awareness of health issues. Historically, fisheries expansion relied upon a growing population and increased demand for fish food. The population growth of the Republic of Korea has been only about 0.8 percent per year in the 1990s and it is expected that the growth rate will remain low.

The trend is that with increased personal income, there is more health consciousness and demand for high-quality fish food suitable for a busy life style. As fish gains a reputation for being an important health food, the demand for fish is expected to remain high and/or grow.

Table 20. Projection of supply and demand of fishery products

 

Population*

Supply

Total

Demand

   

Production

Import

Carry over from

 

Domestic use

Export

Carry over to

1995**

44 606

3 348

948

395

4 691

3 150

1 170

371

1996**

45 248

3 244

1 205

371

4 820

3 202

1 191

427

1997***

45 642

3 244

1 189

427

4 860

3 187

1 193

480

2001****

46 789

3 420

500

5 000

 

 

 

2011****

49 683

4 000

 

 

6 000

 

 

 

* Source: National Statistical Office. Social indicators in Korea, 1994.

** Source: Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries. 1997 Annual Report. P.288.

*** Source: Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries. Basic Fishery Statistics. 1998. P.93

**** Source: Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries. Vision for 21 Century: Maritime Affairs & Fisheries Development Strategies. 1997. P.24.

Assuming that fish consumption remains at the current rate of 45 kg/caput/yr, the Republic of Korea will require about 2,500 mt to meet the domestic need in 2010. However, if per-caput fish consumption is increased to 60 kg, the Republic of Korea will need about 3,300 mt in 2010. This means that it needs to maintain fishery production at the current level of about 3,300 mt per year. However, the quantity of imports has to be increased if the level of exports is to be maintained or increased. Any amount that can be produced beyond domestic requirements will contribute to the global availability of fish food.

6. Role of Public and Private Sectors

6.1 Political Commitment and Government Intervention

Fisheries has been an integral part of the economy of the Republic of Korea. Development and management of the fisheries sector require the concerted efforts of both the public and private sector. The government has played and will continue to play an important role in making decisions on what choices are made in managing and utilizing aquatic resources, and ensuring sustainable availability of affordable fish food.

In the past, government policies were directed toward the development of fishing capacities and infrastructure, development and extension of fishery technologies, and development of fishing and fishfarming communities. In general, the past approaches achieved maximum utilization of fisheries resources without due consideration of environmental degradation and uncontrolled utilization of fisheries resources. This policy direction was based on the assumptions that the seas have unlimited capacity to absorb wastes and pollutants, and that fisheries resources have unlimited regenerative or renewable capacities and are unaffected by environmental degradation and pollution. Experience has shown otherwise.

Learning from experience, the Republic of Korea Government has taken a number of management measures that aim to facilitate rational utilization of fisheries resources, conservation of the aquatic environment and improvement of the livelihood of fishing and fishfarming communities, thus ensuring sustainable availability of fish food.

The 1996 fisheries policies of the Republic of Korea were oriented toward:

  1. management of aquatic environment and rehabilitation of fisheries resources;
  2. empowerment of fishermen and fishfarmers as special resource managers; and
  3. development of holistic fishing and fishfarming communities. The basic strategies adopted to achieve the policy objectives included:

    Specific measures that were introduced in 1996 included:

The most significant recent action was the consolidation of all government agencies concerned with use of aquatic resources under the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF). By consolidating the related agencies, the newly-established Ministry aims to improve coordination and harmonization of all ocean-related policies and functions, ensuring environmentally sound and socially responsible utilization of living and non-living aquatic resources. The new Ministry is committed to investing its full resources in stabilizing the supply and demand of fishery products, developing economically and socially viable fishing and fishfarming communities, and sustainable management of aquatic resources.

Many of the difficulties in the fisheries sector are closely related to some of its unique characteristics, e.g. open access and common property nature, production and harvest depending on nature and availability of natural stocks, and the resulting uncertainties in quantity and variety of available fishes. To reduce the uncertainties in fishing and to tackle the issue of declining abundance of fisheries resources in the coastal waters, the new fisheries policy has promoted integrated coastal area development and "culture" fisheries rather than "fishing". The inshore and coastal fishing areas are gradually being converted into community-managed coastal ranching areas, where capture fisheries and culture fisheries coexist. Since sustainable fisheries is closely related to the well-being of fishing and fishfarming communities, the government policies also promote comprehensive development of these communities, where the production sector and the post-harvest processing and service sectors coexist.

In order to promote the concepts of "resource users as resource managers" and community-based management of fisheries resources that encourages active participation of fishermen, fishfarmers and local communities, many management and development responsibilities are being transferred to the provincial and local levels. The policy objectives are to promote participatory management; stimulate fisheries development that takes advantage of local characteristics, suitability, capacity and specialty; and improve management effectiveness by being more responsive to local needs.

The related actions are streamlining fisheries regulations and procedures, and delegation of authority and responsibilities to non-governmental organizations to encourage self-governance.

6.2 Role of the Private Sector

The private sector in the fisheries of the Republic of Korea consists of small-scale, family-owned operations mainly involved in fishing and fishfarming. A small number of medium and large-scale industries are involved mainly in deep sea fishing and post-harvest processing. The private sector is represented mainly by three types of cooperatives - local cooperatives of small-scale, family-owned producers; business cooperatives; and manufacturers' cooperatives. These form a central national fisheries cooperative, i.e. the Nation Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives, which works closely with the government to formulate and implement fisheries development and management policies.

Government interventions are mainly concerned with the formulation and implementation of policies relating to management and rational utilization of fisheries resources, including development research, development of infrastructure and human resources, formulation and enforcement of fisheries legislation and regulations, and management and development of the fisheries sector. The policies are often targeted to the private sector, which is frequently the main channel for policy implementation.

6.3 Inter-country Cooperation

To facilitate successful implementation of various international laws and regulations governing utilization and conservation of aquatic resources, and to contribute to global efforts towards sustainable development and environmental management, the Republic of Korea has increased its participation in international fishery organizations and bodies. Presently, it is a member of 11 international fisheries organizations (APFIC, COFI/FAO, IOFC, CECAF, ICCAT, WECAFC, IWC, CCAMLR, NAFO, PICES and IOTC) and has fisheries agreements with 13 countries.

Open access and the common property nature of fisheries require joint and collaborative management efforts among the countries that share the same resources. Efforts are underway to intensify the scientific cooperation with other countries that is essential for development of a common fisheries management framework. Fisheries diplomacy is being intensified to secure access to fishing grounds and for the responsible use of living aquatic resources for food and other essential needs of the society. Consideration is also being given to strengthening international cooperation in training.

6.4 Cooperatives and Fisheries Associations

Although cooperatives play an important role in distribution and marketing, concerns have been expressed about their effectiveness in responding to the needs of their members. Possible causes for this concern include the non-homogeneity in their memberships, the appointment system used to place key administrators, and a centralized management system. It should be noted that the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives consists of local and business cooperatives that have diversified needs and interests. Suggestions have been made to improve management effectiveness. They include restructuring or regrouping cooperatives to make them more representative of their members; reduction of top-heaviness in the organizations; and a more responsive and participatory management system. It also has been suggested that the fisheries cooperatives need to strengthen their role and provide leadership in technology transfer and training, management of fishing grounds, including fisheries resources and environmental aspects, and welfare of fishermen and fishfarmers.

Additionally, there are several professional and trade organizations that represent the private sector. Associations such as the Korean Fishing Vessels Association, the Association of Korean Fishing Ports and the Korean Deep Sea Fisheries Association, not only promote the interests of their members, but also facilitate implementation of the policies and regulations governing their industries. To improve efficiency and effectiveness in management of the fisheries sector, the trend in government policy is to reduce government bureaucracy and promote self-governance. The recent reorganization of the fisheries sector included decentralization of the central government functions and delegation of responsibilities and authority to professional and trade organizations. In this context, the role of the government is to facilitate the transfer of functions, including development of the capacities and capabilities of the private sector to respond to needs of their members and contribute to coherent and coordinated development and management of the fisheries sector.

7. Policy Framework for Sustainable Contribution to Food Security

It has been shown that Korea need not have an immediate concern about meeting domestic demand for fish food. Nonetheless, a sustainable supply of fishery production is important to protect income and employment in rural fishing and fishfarming communities and secondary industries, and to contribute to global availability of fish food.

7.1 Policy Issues

The fisheries sector has made significant progress in supplying fish food for domestic consumption and the expanding export market over the past three decades. However, the past strategies based on intensified investment in fishing efforts and lack of attention to management of fisheries resources and their habitats have resulted in a decline in abundance of fish stocks, causing stagnation in production quantity and change in composition of the catch in the 1990s. From the brief review of the fisheries sector presented above, one can observe the following:

7.2 Resolution of the Above Policy Issues

The government must continue to play an important role in making decisions on the management and utilization of aquatic resources, and ensuring sustainable availability of affordable fish food. With full commitment to sustainable fisheries, the Republic of Korea initiated and implemented a variety of policies and management measures, addressing challenges confronting the fisheries sector. However, given the urgency of targeting actions for environmentally sound and socially equitable fisheries, it is necessary to intensify the existing efforts, emphasizing the following aspects:

8. Summary and Conclusions

The most important consideration for the fisheries sector of the Republic of Korea is to align and harmonize its policies with: (a) the national economy that is going through a major transition from a centralized, government-directed/driven system to decentralization, privatization and participatory management, and (b) with various international laws, regulations and guidelines aiming to conserve fisheries resources.

It should be stressed that management policies need to be supported by continual analysis of their effectiveness and study of alternatives and opportunities for management interventions. Comparative and systematic analysis of policy alternatives within and among the related sectors and neighbouring countries is necessary. This requires improved information bases and targeted research that aim to support policy and management decisions.

One area of critical importance that has been overlooked is the recognition that effective and efficient utilization of information is a means of achieving the goals of sustainable fisheries and food security. Information is an essential input to decision making; relevant, timely, and usable information must be made available so that appropriate and informed decisions and actions can be taken. Furthermore, efficient flow of information is a prerequisite to integrated, coordinated and holistic planning and management. Cooperation and collaboration among related organizations, sectors and countries can only be facilitated through efficient information sharing and exchange. Self-governance and sustainable resource management require informed decisions and actions at all levels, from individual, institutional, local, and national to international levels. Successful formulation and implementation of appropriate policies and management interventions depend on effective utilization of information. A future fisheries policy framework should give priority to development of a comprehensive fisheries information programme that can support management decisions, including increasing the awareness of the public to the need for environmentally sound and socially responsible fisheries.

In terms of a contribution to regional and global food security, the Republic of Korea can assist by: (a) sharing surplus production and (b) undertaking a more active role in strengthening regional capacity in fisheries management, i.e. providing leadership in the areas of regional human resource development, technology transfer, collaborative research on fisheries and environmental management, and information exchange and sharing. As was seen above, increasing fishery production may not be realized until the environmental and social issues are successfully addressed.

Nevertheless, the Republic of Korea is one of the major fishing nations; it has accumulated considerable experience and expertise, and has developed research and management capacities in fisheries. These capacities and expertise can be shared and used for the benefit of the region. The existing efforts in international cooperation should be intensified, giving special consideration to strengthening regional fisheries management capacities and sharing experience and expertise.

The main objectives of the fisheries sector are to ensure sustainable availability of fish food and to develop socially and economically viable fishing and fishfarming communities. The fisheries sector has no immediate difficulties in producing adequate amounts of fish food for domestic consumption of 45 kg/caput/yr. The current production level is sufficient to meet the domestic demand at the per-caput consumption rate of 60 kg until 2010 when the population will reach about 50 million.

However, the sector has been affected by a variety of national and international economic, industrial and trade actions and policies. Environmental quality of coastal and inland waters has changed significantly due to discharge and dumping of industrial and domestic wastes and other pollution, including accidental spills, and reclamation of tidelands. Fishing areas have been reduced partly by tideland reclamation and partly due to implementation of EEZs by many coastal countries. Access to fishing grounds has become more difficult. The former abundance of fisheries resources has shown signs of decline. Income of fishing households remains at 82 percent of city household income and 86 percent of farm household income. There is a considerable manpower drain from fisheries to other sectors, and from fishing communities to urban areas.

In addressing issues confronting the fisheries sector, government policies are oriented to promote: (i) improvement of the coastal environment and rational management of fisheries resources, (ii) shifting emphasis from capture fisheries to culture fisheries, (iii) integrated development of coastal areas and fishing and fishfarming communities, (iv) continued development of distant water and high sea fishing, (v) decentralization and privatization, and (vi) restructuring the fisheries sector and institutional arrangements. In addition to the national actions toward these commitments, the Republic of Korea supports and observes the international laws and regulations governing fisheries and actively participates in various international fisheries programmes that promote cooperation and collaboration among the countries involved.

Fish has been and will be an important food for Koreans. The Republic of Korea is a peninsular country with high population density and limited arable land, and sustainable fisheries is therefore critical to food security. Given that the private sector is the main target of government policies and channels for the eventual implementation of the policies, concerted action by both the public and private sectors is essential to ensure a continued supply of quality fish food for current and future generations. Additionally, it is critical to make extra efforts to: (i) formulate and implement holistic policies and management measures, covering every aspect from production, processing, distribution, and marketing to consumption, (ii) devise coordinated and coherent strategies among the related organizations and sectors that are concerned with management and utilization of aquatic resources and environment, and (iii) ensure balanced and consistent actions within the fisheries sector. In this context, the need for relevant and usable information and problem-solving research is greater than ever. Priority consideration must be given to: (i) effective and efficient dissemination and utilization of information that facilitates coordinated policy planning and implementation, participatory and community-based management, and informed actions and decisions at all levels, and (ii) targeted, problem-solving and policy-relevant research in support of sustainable availability of affordable fish food.

Fisheries resources in the waters under the jurisdiction of the Republic of Korea have been used to near or total capacity. It may be difficult to increase fisheries production significantly in the near future. Nonetheless, the Republic of Korea, as one of the major fishing nations, can make an important contribution to regional and global food security by sharing its experience and expertise, and by strengthening regional capacity in sustainable fisheries management.

9. References

Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF). 1996 Annual Report of Korean Fisheries. 291 pp.

FAO. 1996. Fishery Statistics Yearbook 1994, Catch and Landings. Vol. 78. 699 pp.

FAO. 1996. Aquaculture Production Statistics, 1985-1994. FAO Fisheries Circular No. 815, Revision 8. 189 pp.

Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission. 1996. Report of the Twenty-fifth Session of the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, held in Seoul, Korea, 15-24 October 1996.

FAO. 1995. The Role of Fisheries in Food Security. COFI/95/Inf.10. FAO, Rome. 12 pp.

Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 1994. Uruguay Round Agreement and Korean Fisheries Response. Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 97 pp.

Park, S.K. and M.S. Chung. 1994. Consumption Pattern of Fishery Products and Supply Projection. Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 44 pp.

National Fisheries Administration (NFA). 1994 Annual Report of Korean Fisheries. 263 pp.

National Fisheries Administration (NFA). 1993 Annual Report of Korean Fisheries. 233 pp.

Shin, Y.T., M.S. Chung and S.K. Park. 1993. Management of Fisheries Resources and Strategies for Conservation of Marine Environment for Sustainable Fisheries Development. Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 67 pp.

Korea Ocean Research and Development Institution. 1991. Marine Policies Towards the 21st Century: World Trends and Korean Perspectives. KORDI. 353 pp.

Park, S.K., J. B. Kim, Y.S. Ok, Y.T. Shin, and H.C. Lee. 1988. Fisheries Development and Ocean Utilization Policy for the 21st Century. Korean Rural Economic Research Institute. 202 pp.

ANNEX 1

Terms of Reference for the Consultant

  1. To discuss and analyze the present fish production situation in the Republic of Korea, future opportunities and outlook for fish supplies to 2010 and beyond;
  2. To analyze the contribution of the fisheries sector to overall food security with special reference to production of fish for household consumption and generation of income/employment;
  3. To analyze the present policy issues/measures for fisheries management and development and identify the constraints to the sustainable development of fisheries in the Republic of Korea;
  4. To recommend mechanisms and approaches to be followed by the country for maximizing fisheries contribution to the sub-region food security; and
  5. To recommend policy framework (issues/measures) for the sustainable contribution of fisheries to food security in the sub-region.

Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page