EJF: Illegal fish due to arrive in Korea

'Kum Woong 101' Photo: Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) 'Kum Woong 101' Photo: Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF)

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has released an alert warning of the imminent arrival of illegal fish in the Korean port of Busan.

EJF documented the Korean-flagged Kum Woong 101 fishing illegally in Sierra Leone’s Inshore Exclusion Zone (IEZ) - an area reserved by law for local fishers using artisanal canoes - on 18 and 19 September. EJF investigators used Satellite Automatic Identification System (S-AIS) technology to identify the 470-tonne Kum Woong 101 fishing within one nautical mile from Sherbro Island, where local communities are heavily reliant on fishing for their food and income.

EJF also documented Kum Woong 101 transferring its illegal catch onto a Dutch-flagged refrigerated cargo vessel, Holland Klipper, on 20 September in neighbouring Guinea. The ‘transhipment’ is believed to have been in breach of both Guinean law, and European Regulations, which prevent EU vessels from transhipping with non-EU vessels at sea.

EJF investigators confirmed the transhipment by speaking with the Captain of Holland Klipper on a satellite phone. The Captain confirmed to EJF that he had received 4,385 boxes of fish from Kum Woong 101, and that the cargo was destined for the Korean port of Busan. He also said transhipments had been carried out with two further vessels with histories of IUU fishing, the Korean-flagged Seta 70 and the Guinean-flagged Ulia.

EJF is now calling on Korea to block the import of illegal fish. Holland Klipper is due to arrive in Busan in late October with the illegal cargo onboard. EJF is also in communication with authorities in the Netherlands and the European Commission who are urged to investigate the Holland Klipper's transhipment activities. EJF has also notified Belgium, where the charterer of the Dutch-flagged vessel is believed to be based.

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