Global Warming Impacts Korean Fisheries Industry
Global warming is affecting the migration of birds, fish and other animals around the world, and the Korean eco-system is no exception.
An attention-grabber on Korea's East Coast these days is the large stingray with a wingspan of at least 1.5 meters. This flat disk-like fish common in tropical coastal areas started appearing in Korean waters only in recent years. Minke whales and sharks are two other unexpected catches for Korean fishermen. Apart from these newcomers, another group of fish is surprising locals by appearing when they are not supposed to. The prime example is squid, a typical summer catch in Korea. Also, saury pike and mackerel, which are usually found around Korea's southern Island of Jeju this time of the year, made their way up to the eastern shores of the peninsula.
Along with this rare appearance of summer fish, traditional winter catches are disappearing. Pollack is one of them. The East Sea pollack fishery has produced 15 tons so far this year, down a whopping 98 percent compared to 1980. Many Koreans are disappointed to see dwindling catches of winter fish like pollack, herring and cod, which have long been an essential part of the country's wintertime cuisine.
With the rapid changes in Korea's maritime climate, fisheries and consumers are calling for a more accurate assessment of global warming and its impacts on the ecosystem.