Forty-five of these “ghost ships” were discovered in Japan in 2015, and their numbers have grown significantly since then. In 2018, 225 North Korean boats were found on the Japanese coast. Last year there were 158. The crews of the boats that found themselves empty reportedly drowned or were rescued by other North Korean fishermen.
“These incidents often involve starvation and death, and many fishing villages on the east coast of North Korea have now been referred to as ‘widow’ villages,” Global Fishing Watch said in one of its new reports. , “Illuminating Dark Fishing Fleets in North Korea”. which was published in the journal Science Advances.
Using satellite technology and in collaboration with researchers from South Korea, Japan, the United States and Australia, Global Fishing Watch determined that more than 900 vessels of Chinese origin had fished in the waters North Korea during the 2017 squid season. There are 700 squid for 2018. The vessels “do not publicly broadcast their location or appear in public surveillance systems,” the group said.
Chinese ships are estimated to have caught almost as many squid in those years as Japan and South Korea combined: over 160,000 metric tonnes, worth more than $ 440 million, according to the report.
According to Global Fishing Watch and the South Korean government, fewer squid are now caught in South Korean and Japanese waters, as many are caught near North Korea before the creatures can migrate south.
Last year, 800 Chinese vessels in North Korean waters brought in $ 240 million worth of squid, Global Fishing Watch said. About $ 560 million has been captured by Chinese ships since the United Nations sanctions came into effect in September 2017, the group said.