Jun 11, 2014

Korea in EU's Hot Water: Korean Fishing Sanctions by EU

A delegation from the EU is in Korea investigating allegations that Korea is illegally fishing in European Union and surrounding waters.

The Directorate General for Maritime and Fisheries of the EU will spend three days in Korea to determine if sanctions should be imposed on Korea for not cooperating with obligations under treaties. Sanction could lead to a ban on Korean fishing in the EU.

Korea has, previously, been warned by the European Commission, along with Ghana and Curacao, that it is not meeting its obligations under international treaties.  The allegations have been that Korea is playing little part in fighting the rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing by the Korean fishing industry.  Other countries have, also, protested to the Korean government.

The EU has, already, banned the import of marine products from Belize, Cambodia and Guinea.

Korea exports to the EU of marine products last year was about USD 100 million.  Not a great sum, but the sanctions can be a blow to a struggling industry and, also, harm the national image of Korea.

Korea has recently  increased fines available under law and opened a new monitoring facility.  Two steps that seem directly related to the EU "yellow card."

The result of the three day visit shall be interesting.  We suspect because of increased fines and a new monitoring station in Busan that the EU will return with a report that does not lead to sanctions.

What do you think?

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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com. Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. He is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean attorneys as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.