The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) announced on Aug. 31 that it conducted its first crackdown on fishing boats believed to be from North Korea poaching in the fishing ground near the Yamato Bank, some 300 kilometers off the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, from early July to mid-August, chasing off a total of about 820 fishing boats in this operation. The JCG will remain vigilant after the peak season for catching squid starts in fall.
The fishing ground near Yamato Bank is within Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and North Korean boats are not allowed to fish there because the DPRK does not have a fisheries agreement with Japan. However, Ishikawa Prefecture’s fishermen’s cooperative reports that North Korean fishing boats began to be spotted frequently near the Yamato Bank around September last year. At its peak, some 300 vessels were operating there.
The Ninth JCG Regional Headquarters (based in Niigata City) sent large patrol boats to the area, warning the fishing boats with loudspeakers and sirens. The patrol boats used water cannons to deploy water above and near some 40 boats that refused to leave the area. The action succeeded in forcing the boats to leave the EEZ. (Slightly abridged)