North Korea has been boasting its plentiful catch of fish this year widely across state media, but running contrary to this alleged
abundance, fish prices in the markets have been on the rise, the Daily NK has
this year, it’s only natural that the prices in the
markets would drop, but right now, they’re going up,” a source based in North Hamkyung Province told the Daily NK on
Thursday. “The cost of one pollack, which went for
around 5,000 KPW [0.60 USD] in the summer, fetches up to 8,000 KPW [0.96 USD]
in the market currently, so the average person can’t
afford to purchase any.”
“If we actually had a great catch of fish
She went on to explain that aside from a
handful of businesses, most boats find it hard to even fathom going out on the
waters currently. “Only a select few among the fishing
companies associated with the military, and one or two out of Pyongyang channeling supplies back to the capital, can get out on the ocean,” she said.
Despite it being the apex of North Korea’s fishing
season, most fishing boats are unable to operate because of the diesel prices
and fishing supply costs, for necessities like nets and ropes.
Diesel of good quality is expensive, so
most small fishing vessels use fake concoctions to run the boats. However,
even this goes for 8,000-10,000 KPW [0.96-1.20 USD] per kilogram, while a
30-meter gill net costs some hundred thousand KPW, the source explained. Even for boats equipped with the required tools of the trade, the prohibitive
diesel costs keeps them contained to nearby waters to fish for sailfin sandfish
and crabs, at the very most.
Without the usual number of individual
fishing boats going on on the water, supplies to the markets cannot be met. It
may be a good year for catching fish, so the state reports, but the limited foreign-currency earning enterprises, affiliated with the military and that can afford to go out on the water, have been exporting most of
the catch to China, contributing the rising prices.
of the fish that haven’t frozen surface occasionally in
the market, but they’re still extremely expensive,” the source explained.
Vexed by state media’s overblown declarations of the “abundance
of fish” in the country, many residents have
pointed out, “They say they caught so much but where
does it all go?” Most assume even the fish go “only to Party cadres,” she concluded.
Meanwhile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun
recently visited the No. 18 fisheries company under the auspice of the Chosun
People’s Army and commended their fishing efforts,
according to the Party-run daily Rodong Sinmun on November 19th. The paper also
published a story on Wednesday praising “honorable
workers” in the fishing industry.