FAO Home>Fisheries & Aquaculture
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
EspañolFrançaisРусский
  1. Profile
    1. Basic legislation
    2. Legal definition
    3. Guidelines and codes of conduct
    4. International arrangements
  2. Planning
    1. Authorization system
    2. Access to land and water
    3. EIA
  3. Operation
    1. Water and wastewater
    2. Fish movement
    3. Disease control
    4. Drugs
    5. Feed
  4. Food safety
    1. Miscellaneous
      1. References
        1. Legislation
        2. Related resources
      2. Related links
        Profile
        Basic legislation
        Korean fisheries conservation, management and development is based on the Fisheries Act (1990, as amended) together with many other related acts and regulations on delegated issues, i.e. Presidential Decrees and Ordinances issued by relevant Ministries. The Fisheries Act is comprehensive and regulates a variety of issues such as, inter alia, the preparation of fishing ground utilization and development plans, fish licensing including aquaculture, fish processing and transport, and measures for the conservation and protection of fisheries resources. The Fishery Resources Protection Act (1953, as amended) defines the jurisdictional waters for the purpose of conservation and management of fishery resources. The conservation, management and development of inland fisheries, including inland aquaculture, is regulated in the Inland Water Fisheries Development Promotion Act (1975, as amended)  , although matters other than those especially prescribed in this act are governed by the Fisheries Act.

        The Framework Act on Marine Development (1987, as amended) aims to contribute to the development of the national economy and the improvement of the national welfare by providing the direction of the Government's basic policy necessary for rational development, utilization and preservation of the sea and marine resources. In order to explore, develop, preserve and manage marine living resources, the Government shall adopt policies necessary for the exploitation of fishing grounds, improvement of fishing and processing technology, development of breeding scientific culture techniques and continuous extension reproduction of marine living resources. In order to preserve and manage the marine environment, the Government shall adopt policies necessary for analysis and evaluation of effects caused by marine development projects, for prevention and elimination of factors aggravating marine environment, and for restoration of polluted marine areas.

        Recently, the Korean Government enacted two significant acts to mitigate the pressure of overexploitation in capture fisheries and to respond to the increasing demand for fish and fishery products. The Aquaculture Ground Management Act (2000)  aims to improve the productivity of farm sites and introduces a system of sabbatical years for mariculture sites to increase their productivity efficiency and to facilitate sustainable production, sanitary inspection, and cleaning. According to the Culture-based Fishery Promotion Act (2002)  , the Government shall establish a framework to promote culture-based fisheries every five years. In particular, the act introduces a system regulating consultations of experts on fish disease. Any person wanting to be such an expert should pass a qualification test and be licensed by the government.

        Two levels of the government, i.e. the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), being the central authority, as well as local governments in the province, city and district, are involved in fisheries conservation, management and development. The Korean Government also introduced a fishermen-oriented co-management system for more effective implementation of responsible fisheries. Under this system, an organization of fishermen, such as a fishery corporation or a group of fishermen in villages set up self-regulation according to the fishery-related laws and regulations with endorsement of the local government. Finally, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI) plays a major role in the research of fisheries resources and technology development. Among its priorities are aquaculture and the protection of the marine environment.
        Legal definition
        The Fisheries Act defines the term "fishing industry" as catching, gathering or cultivating aquatic animals and plants. The term "cultivating" is further defined as breeding and cultivating aquatic animals and plants in artificial ways, including the utilization of facilities such as fishing vessels and fishing gear for the culture and the installation of structures. The Inland Water Fisheries Development Promotion Act defines the term “aquaculture fishery” as the fishery of breeding marine animals and plants in any public inland water or private inland water designated as a development area by marking off certain parts of the said inland water or by installing other facilities.
        Guidelines and codes of conduct
        There is no information available on guidelines or codes of conduct/practice.
        International arrangements
        Korea is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia and the Pacific (NACA). Korea is a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and has signed the Biosafety Protocol. Korea is also a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
        Planning
        Authorization system
        The Fisheries Act requires any person who intends to cultivate seaweeds, shellfish or other marine animals (by demarcating specified waters and utilizing the bed of the waters or providing other facilities under water) to obtain a license from the local government. Other categories of cultivating fisheries include mixed cultivating fisheries, cooperative cultivating fisheries and village cultivating fisheries. Any license should be issued within the limits of the fishing ground utilization and development plan. According to the act, MMAF shall determine, inter alia, the water depth of the fishing grounds (exclusive of water depths of cooperative and village cultivating fisheries, which are to be determined by Presidential Decree), limits of fishing zones and distances between fishing grounds, methods of fishing ground equipment, cultivation, catching or gathering, and matters concerning cultivated products. The act prescribes the order of priority for the issuance of licenses, specifies the grounds for refusal and revocation of licenses, and stipulates that licenses may be subject to restrictions or conditions if necessary, inter alia, for the breeding and protection of fishery resources or any other public interest. Licenses are generally valid for a period of ten years.

        Any person who has obtained a license to engage in aquaculture shall obtain the pertinent fishery right by recording the license in the fishery right register. Any transfer, alteration, extinguishment or restriction of the fishery right shall be recorded in the fishery right register. No fishery right may be transferred, divided or altered, except with permission of the local government, on conditions as prescribed by MMAF. Any person, who has acquired the fishery right, shall commence operation of the aquaculture activities within one year after acquiring the right. No person having acquired the fishery right shall have another person control the actual operation of the aquaculture activities. Any person with a fishery right, who wishes to suspend the operation of the aquaculture activities for one or more years consecutively, shall report this to the local government. Upon extinction of the fishery right, the person who has the fishery right shall remove facilities installed or animals and plants cultivated on the fishing ground or waters, as determined by MMAF.

        The Fisheries Act also addresses the operation of experimental fishery (including aquaculture) for the purpose of developing new fishing gear, techniques or fishing grounds. Licenses for experimental fishery are directly issued by MMAF and are generally valid for a period of five years.

        The Inland Water Fisheries Development Promotion Act requires any person who intends to engage in aquaculture in inland waters to obtain a license from the local government. The license is generally valid for a period of ten years. In addition, the act requires any person who wishes to capture seeds and samplings of marine animals and plants for the purpose of cultivation to obtain permission from the local government. The permission is generally valid for a period of three years. Any person who obtains a license to engage in aquaculture in inland waters automatically acquires the pertinent fishery right.
        Access to land and water
        The Public Water Management Act (1961, as amended)  deals with the conservation, utilization, and management of public waters and aims to contribute to public welfare by protecting and efficiently using the resources of such waters. The act defines “public waters" as the state-owned oceans, rivers, lakes and other surfaces or streams of the water and shores used by the public. Any person who intends to excavate land below the water level immediately neighbouring the public waters, excavate or clean public waters, take clay, gravel, silt or sand from public waters, or take and cultivate plants from publicly owned waters, must obtain a permit from the Management Office (which may be MMAF or a local government office, depending on the public waters involved). The Management Office may cancel or temporarily suspend permits when deemed necessary to remove or minimize danger to the public.

        The Coastal Management Act (1999)  emphasizes the need for an integrated and long-term management of the coastal zone and attempts to achieve a balance among the ecological, cultural and economic interests involved. It defines the landward boundary of the coastal zone as being 500 m to 1 km inland from the shoreline, and the seaward boundary as reaching the outer limit of the territorial sea. As a regulatory mechanism for reducing multiple-use conflicts and conserving coastal environment and resources, the act provides a framework for formulating an Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) plan both at the national and local levels. The plan, which is subject to the deliberation of the Central Coastal Management Council, must be revised by MMAF every 10 years to ensure the effective implementation of coastal zone improvement projects. The main responsibility for the implementation and coordination of integrated coastal management policy is vested in MMAF.

        The Marine Pollution Prevention Act (1991, as amended)  , administered by MMAF, provides a mechanism for addressing environmental issues at the land and seawater interface by designating Coastal Environment Management Areas (CEMAs) up to the watershed boundary, and formulating integrated management plans for each of the designated areas, among others. According to the act, CEMAs consist of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), being coastal waters which are in relatively good ecological condition that need to be continuously preserved and protected, and Special Management Areas (SMAs), being coastal areas that do not meet certain water quality standards, impose significant risks or potential risks to human health, ecosystem integrity and coastal uses, and thus need special management measures for restoration. Restrictions can be made in SMAs on the use of marine areas and the installation of facilities.

        The Wetlands Conservation Act (1999)  aims to conserve wetlands and their biological diversity by prescribing basic matters related to their efficient use and management. As such, the main objectives are to protect wetlands, to protect the livelihood of residents in wetland conservation areas, and to enhance scientific understanding of wetlands. The Ministry of Environment (MOE, for the terrestrial wetland) and MMAF (for the coastal wetland) have the authority to designate wetland conservation areas and to designate their adjacent areas as wetland buffer management areas. The artificial introduction, cultivation and capture of wildlife in wetland conservation areas is prohibited.

        Under the Fisheries Act, MMAF may designate reserved waters, i.e. waters deemed suitable for spawning marine animals, originating seeds of marine plants and growing fries. For the purpose of the effective utilization and control of fishery resources, MMAF may also designate rearing waters, i.e. waters in which mass sedentary marine animals and plants inhabit and waters in which marine seeds are stocked or facilities are installed for the purpose of creating fishery resources. In addition, the Fisheries Act allows fishermen to use another person’s land, works or other land fixtures with permission of the local government for the purpose of, inter alia, the establishment of fishing ground marks and the conservation or establishment of targets necessary for fishery. Fishermen may enter upon another person's land, cut down hindering bamboos and trees or remove other obstacles with permission of the local government if it is required for the purpose of, inter alia, the survey of the fishery.
        EIA
        The Basic Environmental Policy Act (1990)  sets down the objectives and directions for the country’s environmental preservation policies and provides the framework for environmental protection. Under this act, a large number of other laws have been enacted that relate to specific areas of the environment, such as the Nature Environment Conservation Act (1991)  , which aims, inter alia, to prevent the extinction of endangered species through conservation of biological diversity. The environmental laws and regulations are administered and implemented by MOE, which is the primary government agency responsible for the overall protection of the country’s environment.

        The Act on Assessment of Impacts of Works on Environment, Traffic, Disasters and Population (1999)  generally deals with the assessment of impacts on the environment, among others. Projects that are subject to an assessment of impacts include, inter alia, the development of water resources, the utilization and development of rivers, the cultivation and reclamation of public waters as well as other projects that have an impact on, inter alia, the environment, and which are further prescribed by Presidential Decree. The act generally puts environmental impact assessments (EIAs) under the management of MOE, which may further determine the items of EIAs. With respect to projects that affect the marine environment, the act imposes an obligation on MOE to consult with MMAF.
        Operation
        Water and wastewater
        The Water Quality Conservation Act (1990, as amended) aims to prevent damage to human health and the environment due to water pollution and to manage and preserve the quality of public waters, including rivers, lakes, marshes, harbours, ports, coastal areas and other waters used for public purposes. The act defines wastewater discharge facilities as those facilities, machines, equipments and other objects that are used in order to discharge water pollutants, as prescribed by MOE. Any person who intends to install a discharge facility should obtain a permit from MOE or report to MOE under the conditions as prescribed by Presidential Decree. The permissible discharge standards of pollutants discharged from wastewater discharge facilities shall be determined by MOE. In order to prevent or reduce the potential damage on water environments due to water pollutants, MOE imposes discharge fees and collects those fees.

        The Public Water Management Act prohibits the disposal into public waters of wastes and noxious substances and of throwing of trash or corpses of animals in public waters. The Marine Pollution Prevention Act aims to preserve the marine environment through the establishment of MPAs and SMAs (where pollutant discharge can be regulated), and provides regulations on the discharge and removal of oil, harmful liquid substances and other wastes into the sea from ships and marine installations.

        The Fisheries Act allows local governments to order the holder of a fishery right to take special measures for the purpose of preventing pollution such as, inter alia, moving, removing, abandoning, gathering and removal of facilities or cultivated objects on fishing grounds, and repairing of facilities. Matters necessary for the control of fishing grounds and readjustment and development of cultivation fishing grounds are further prescribed by MMAF.
        Fish movement
        The Fishery Products Quality Control Act (2001)  addresses the import and export of live fish and the quarantine of aquatic animals and plants, among others, in order to prevent the inflow of diseases from foreign countries and the disturbance of the domestic ecosystem. The act is implemented by the National Fisheries Products Quality Inspection Service (NFPQIS), which resorts under MMAF.
        Disease control
        There is no information available on disease control within the aquaculture facility.
        Drugs
        There is no information available on the use chemicals and veterinary drugs.
        Feed
        There is no information available on the use of fish feed in aquaculture.
        Food safety
        The Fishery Products Quality Control Act addresses the import and export of fish and fishery products, inspection, country-of-origin labelling surveillance and certification of fishery products. It introduces the HACCP system for seafood handling and processing facilities. Regulations have also been adopted that require the labelling of genetically modified (GM) fish products.

        According to the Fisheries Act, any person who intends to operate a fish processing industry needs to obtain permission of MMAF. The criteria for permission and other necessary matters are determined by Presidential Decree. Upon violation of the act or the conditions of permission, MMAF may revoke or temporarily suspend the permission.
        Miscellaneous
        Aquaculture investment 
        There are no specific regulations about investment in the aquaculture sector. More information on investment in Korea can be obtained at http://www.investkorea.org
        References
        Legislation
        Aquaculture Ground Management Act (2000). (Copy not available)
        Basic Environmental Policy Act (1990). (Copy not available)
        Coastal Management Act (1999). (Copy not available)
        Culture-based Fishery Promotion Act (2002). (Copy not available)
        Fishery Products Quality Control Act (2001). (Copy not available)
        Natural Environment Preservation Act (1991). (Copy not available)
        Wetlands Conservation Act (1999). (Copy not available)
        Related resources
        FAO/NACA (1995). Regional Study and Workshop on the Environmental Assessment and Management of Aquaculture Development (TCP/RAS/2253). NACA Environment and Aquaculture Development Series No. 1, Bangkok, Thailand (Annex II-8)
        PEMSEA. 2003. Case Study on the Integrated Coastal Policy of the Republic of Korea. PEMSEA Technical Report No. 8, 57 p. Global Environment Facility/United Nations Development Programme/International Maritime Organization Regional Programme on Building Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), Quezon City, Philippines
        Howarth, W., Hernandez, A.R. & Van Houtte, A. 2001. Legislation Governing Shrimp Aquaculture: Legal Issues, National Experiences and Options. FAO Legal Paper Online No. 18
        Related links
        Country profiles: Republic of Korea
         
        Powered by FIGIS