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Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life

By The Siberian Times reporter
24 October 2019

Kilometres of nets thrown overboard monthly, expert warns.

A trapped spotted seal. Picture: Igor Katin

Anthropogenic rubbish - most of which is left in the sea by North Korean fishermen - is making deadly impact on marine life in Russian Far East. 

A warning of a ‘permanently ongoing ecological catastrophe’ and a call for action comes from Igor Katin, researcher at the Far Eastern Marine Biosphere reserve. 

North Korean poachers throw fishing nets into the sea after using them once or twice, he claimed in a study published in ‘Theoretical and Applied Ecology’ magazine

Nets are made from material that takes years to decompose. 

They trap crabs, fish, starfish and sea urchins after sinking to sea bed and threaten mammals from seals to whales if they stay afloat or get washed to shore, he said. 

It is not clear why the poachers throw fishing nets after such little usage, but according to Katin it is obvious they quickly become one the key threats to population of spotted seals (Phoca largha - lat.). 

Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life


Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life


Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life
A scientist rescues a trapped spotted seal. Pictures: Igor Katin


‘Satellite images we used for our research showed there were more than 3,500 vessels fishing in Primorsky region.

‘Each vessel uses at least one kilometre of nets, usually more, and given that each net is used during once or twice during months of fishing periods, we end up with thousands of kilometres of nets’, Katin wrote.

‘To summarise, we are currently in the state of a permanent ecological catastrophe’.

Pictures of beaches near Vladivostok littered with old nets and plastic by Igor Katin

Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life

Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life


Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life


Fishing nets junked by North Korean poachers in Russian waters kill marine life

Comments (4)

Make a big pile of all that debris on the beach and burn it.... that way it can't return to the sea and cause further pollution.
Doc, US
30/10/2019 16:27
1
0
Surely the Russian government can approach North Korea about this ongoing tragedy? This is just conjecture on my part (I have worked on a fishing vessel), but it seems to me that these N.Korean 'fishermen' aren't skilled in the repair of nets and find it more cost effective to simply discard them, with horrible consequences.
Art McTeagle, Scotland
30/10/2019 12:39
0
0
I agree with Benedikt. But also believe all poachers should be shot on sight, from Africa to Siberia and wherever they are found around the world. They decimate species and desecrate the planet.
Chad Hammond, United States
27/10/2019 13:00
3
0
as bad and sad as it is, from the looks on the pictures, there is tons of other junk as well. maybe it is time ,and not waiting for a -subotnik - and the TV cameras around, start clean up the beaches?
Benedikt Morak, Moscow
25/10/2019 07:20
3
0
1

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