3 Chinese boats seized for alleged illegal fishing
SEJONG-- South Korea has seized three Chinese fishing boats on charges of illegal fishing in its exclusive economic zone in the Yellow Sea, the oceans ministry said Monday.
The West Sea Fisheries Management Service seized the fishing boats, including a 98-ton fishing boat, at the weekend.
The three boats had permits to enter South Korea's western exclusive economic zone for fishing, but they are suspected to have used gillnets with a mesh about 40 millimeters in diameter.
The ministry said gillnets with openings less than 50 millimeters in diameter are banned to protect marine resources.
The West Sea Fisheries Management Service -- controlled by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries -- said it later released two of three boats after their owners paid a combined 45 million won (US$39,000) in fines to the South Korean authorities.
The third ship, which is being held at sea by the South Korean authorities, will be released as soon as its owner pays 70 million won in fines to the South Korean authorities, according to officials.
Chinese fishing boats are often caught poaching in South Korean waters, and Chinese fishermen have used violence during raids by the South Korean Coast Guard.
In 2011, a South Korean coastguard officer was killed by a Chinese skipper during a raid.
Source: Yonhap News Agency