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Korean Gov’t To Verify Non-bilateral Tuna Licenses On Legality South Korea, March 21, 13

To further prevent disputes over invalid or falsified tuna licenses, such as is ongoing in Liberia now with tuna fishing company Dongwon Industries, and earlier this year with Silla Co. Ltd., the Korean government has agreed to step in and contact countries where companies are seeking to fish on tuna with their purse seiner and longliners. These would be areas without a formal bilateral contract at government level, by which South Korean fishing companies have directly negotiated their licenses with local governments or through brokerage agencies.

“We hope to serve as the middleman,” an official from the South Korean Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries said.
Earlier this year according to the website Stop Illegal Fishing, Liberian authorities detected further IUU vessels fishing for tuna inside their EEZ. The Korean owned but Ghana flagged FV “Panofi Discoverer” was found fishing without a license well within the Liberian EEZ. Two Ghana flagged reefers “Volta Victory” and “Volta Glory”, were also found illegally trans-shipping fish within Liberian waters without authorization.
Both the tuna purse seiner and the two reefers are owned by Panofi Co Ltd. (Ghana) while the main shareholder is Silla Co Ltd. (Korea). Silla Co Ltd. owns 20 vessels in addition to the 8 Panofi vessels. 18 of these are registered to South Korea while 2 are registered to Kirabati. The 8 Panofi vessels are all registered to Ghana.
Based upon the evidence provided by the Bureau of National Fisheries in Liberia, Panofi Co Ltd has in the meantime agreed to a settlement of 300 000 USD for the violations made by “Panofi Discoverer”. It was also agreed that “Volta Victory” and “Volta Glory” would settle with a payment of 100 000 USD each. This would give a total settlement of 500 000 USD for the three vessels.
The problems with both Silla Co. Ltd and, more recently, with Dongwon Industries have raised worries with the Korean Authorities about the way these two large tuna fishing companies have negotiated their fishing agreements in several countries. Korean vessels have licenses in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Ocean with various governments, which are often in the process of developing their licensing system, and patrolling their own tuna rich EEZ’s more closely.