Dedicated to protecting the world’s five oceans.


Improving Transparency in South Korea and Taiwan

Oceans 5 support allows CIES, KFEM and APIL in Korea to form a network and propose a collaborative and coordinated program of work that will attain improvements to transparency in South Korea’s distant water/domestic fishing fleets; achieve benchmarked improvements to the legal framework for fisheries control and labor conditions in Korea’s distant water fleets in line with international best practice; implement fisheries (both domestic and distant water) and labor legislation in Korea; and get Korean industries incorporate IUU fishing and human rights risks into their due diligence processes.

Despite Korea’s efforts to amend fisheries legislation in line with the international standards over the last few years, the current status of a new IUU law from amended Distant Water Fisheries Development Act is in no way going forward and making an attempt to lift IUU regulation due to industries’ strong opposition. Additionally, key measures such as the catch certificate scheme have still not been set out. Publically available data regarding fishing vessels and their licenses are very much limited and measures to control Korean nationals have not yet been tested in court.

Moreover, in domestic inshore/coastal fisheries, IUU problems are not well known to public except for the Chinese vessels intruding the Korea`s EEZ. Recent studies showed that the collapse of fish stocks in Korean EEZ is by and large attributed to illegal and unsustainable fishing practices of the domestic fleets in addition to climate change. Envisaging that the reform undertaken in distant water fisheries would be ideally replicated in inshore/coastal fisheries in a long run, the NGO community would need an assessment study identifying critical problems and develop a campaign strategy as a first step to move forward.

In terms of labor rights of the fishing crews, it has been believed that the issue is much less in Korea`s fishing fleets than those of Taiwan and Thailand. However, a report recently published by APIL highlighted that the migrant fishing crews are not adequately protected under domestic laws, and therefore, become very susceptible to be trafficking victims. Hence, there is also a need and momentum to address the loopholes in legislation and to ensure proper monitoring and inspection system is to be put in place.

This proposal was developed in collaboration with the Oak Foundation and multiple international and national NGOs in Korea and Taiwan.

IUU Korea – KFEM photo