Over 800 Chinese vessels caught Pacific flying squid and other marine resources in North Korean waters last year, likely in violation of U.N. sanctions on foreign fishing adopted following Pyongyang's testing of ballistic missiles, according to officials of organizations looking into the issue. The discovery by Global Fishing Watch and the Outlaw Ocean Project, using satellite data, also suggests that overfishing in the waters has caused a sharp fall in squid catch in neighboring Japan. Global Fishing Watch, an ocean conservation nonprofit group co-founded by Google LLC, which released the outcome of the probe last week, also believes that vessels from China have been pushing North Korean wooden boats to fish far off, resulting in more than 100 of them being washed ashore in Japan every year as "ghost boats." In 2017, the U.N. Security Council imposed the sanctions, prohibiting foreign fishing in North Korean waters, as U.N. members sought to cut the country's source of foreign currency. But some experts have pointed out that Pyongyang has continued to gain money by granting fishing rights to Chinese fishermen.
The fishery scene on the Hokkaido coast is seeing changes, possibly due to climate change. Catches of Pacific saury and Pacific flying squid, long caught in the waters around Hokkaido, have dwindled. Fishermen are finding more species usually captured in warmer waters, such as dolphinfish, in their fishing nets. Fishermen and seafood processors are being forced to adopt to the change that experts believe the rise in sea temperature in recent years may be behind. Early one morning in October, fresh yellowtails were unloaded at the Osatsube fishing port in Hakodate. Using fixed nets to catch various kinds of fish, local fishermen caught 32 tons of fish on that day, of which 30 tons were adult yellowtails.
HAKODATE, HOKKAIDO - With the country's catch of Pacific flying squid continuing to reach record lows, wholesale prices for the seafood have more than doubled for companies that process it into delicacies such as shiokara and what are normally inexpensive dried squid snacks. Not only has the scarcity in waters around Japan taken a bite out of profits, but the situation has grown dire as prices of foreign squid products have also skyrocketed because of a global slump in squid catches. For the time being, researchers predict difficulty in securing a recovery in seafood resources and a continued escalation in prices. "There's no squid," lamented 69-year-old Toyoji Sato of Hakodate, Hokkaido, who has been fishing squid for more than 50 years. "This is the first time I've ended fishing this early. Fuel costs are also high, so if I take my boat out I just sink deeper into debt."
Japan and South Korean squid-fishing groups plan to work together to urge their governments to work harder at countering illegal fishing by Chinese and North Korean ships in the Sea of Japan, according to the Japanese group. The Japan Squid Fisheries Association said Monday that 200 to 300 unidentified vessels repeatedly operated illegally in a prime fishing spot for Japanese flying squid from late September to the end of October, interfering with Japanese and South Korean vessels allowed to fish there. Because South Korea fishermen share the same concerns about the area, the Japanese association held a meeting with a South Korean fishing group Thursday and they agreed to work together to push their governments to take measures to crack down on illegal fishing. They also agreed that their governments should press the Chinese government to address the situation. "The unidentified ships may include those that are not under the control of the Chinese government and there is a limit in what private-sector groups can do.
The traditional British fish supper could be replaced by the likes of squid as the waters around the UK's shores grow warmer, say government scientists. Squid and other fish that thrive in warmer waters, such as sardines and anchovy, are flourishing around the North Sea, according to fisheries data. Squid are now being caught at 60% of survey stations in the North Sea, compared with 20% in the 1980s. But the likes of cod are heading north, away from British waters. Dr John Pinnegar, of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), which has been monitoring North Sea fish populations for more than 100 years, said models for 2025 and beyond suggested that seawater temperatures off the UK may continue to rise.