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SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is seeking to significantly strengthen penalties for illegal deep-sea fishing by its vessels, increasing maximum fines by at least seven-fold, the government said Tuesday.
The move comes amid growing international criticism for illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by South Korean ships, along with a recent warning from the United States for a possible import ban on the country's fisheries products.
Under a proposed revision to the law on deep-sea fishing, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said it will require all local vessels engaged in deep-sea fishing to equip a tracking device.
Such a device is currently required only when requested by an international organization or the governments of countries in whose waters the boat operates.
The government also seeks to raise maximum fines for IUU fishing to 200 million won (US$177,000) from the currently 30 million won.
In addition, any ship charged with IUU fishing will be imposed an additional fine of an amount that is three times the value of its catch, the ministry said.
Such a penalty currently does not exist.
The ministry said it will work to finalize the proposed revision before the end of next month for submission to the National Assembly.
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