Aquaculture in South Korea

South Korea occupies the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. The total land mass of the country is 98,480 km2 but usable land is only 20% of the total and thus the population is concentrated around the coast.[2][3] The Korean Peninsula is surrounded by the East, West and South Seas, a coast-line that extends for about 2,413 km. Endowed with an abundance of fisheries resources, Koreans have developed a distinct seafood culture with annual per capita sea food consumption of 48.1 kg in 2005.[2]

Years of capturing wild fish together with improved fishing technology have led to a continuous decrease in capture production in South Korea in recent years, and consequently led to a greater attention to aquaculture to meet the increasing demand for aquatic products.

Extensive aquaculture has been practiced in Korea for several hundred years, but modern intensive aquaculture (mainly for seaweed and shellfish) did not emerge until the 1960s.[4] However, total annual aquaculture production was less than 100,000 tonnes in this period. Aquaculture production increased from 147,000 tonnes in 1971, reaching over 1.2 million tonnes by 2006.[2]

Global Aquaculture Production in South Korea[1]

Cultured species

Current aquaculture production in South Korea is dominated by seaweeds, followed by molluscs and finfish.[2][5]

Fishery products Tonnes[2] Percentage[2]
Seaweed 764 913 60.7
Shellfish 391 060 31.1
Finfish 91 123 15.2
Others 12 128 0.9
Total 1 259 274 100

Aquaculture in the sea has developed differently due to the variation of three different coastal regions.[6]

  • East Coast - Because of simple coastal line and strong wave action, there are only land based cultures near the coast. Flatfish (Paralichthys olivaceus) and scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) are the main species cultured in east coast of South Korea.
  • South Coast - There are a number of semi-enclosed bays, islands and estuaries with moderate tidal ranges. Archipelagic environment makes it an ideal place for installation of cages. Aquaculture production in south coast is much higher than production in east and west coast.
  • West Coast - Warm (up to 26 °C) estuarine environment with high tidal range and well developed tidal flat enables crustacean and shellfish production in this region. Trials for the use of earthen ponds for finfish have been successful.
Cage farm ff
Cage farms for finfish production near the coast


55% of aquaculture production in South Korea is encompassed by seaweed.[1] However, fish production is increasing rapidly.[6] Seaweed culture is mainly concentrated on the South western coast where almost 90% of cultivation of seaweed in South Korea takes place. Cultured seaweed species include sea mustard (Caulerpa sp.), laver (Porphyra spp.), kelp (Laminaria spp.), fusiform (Hizikia fusiformis), green laver (Monostroma sp.) and codium (Codium sp.).[5] The brown seaweed Undaria dominates algal aquaculture production constituting 42% of the total wet weight.[7] Laver production is however the most valuable, totaling 65% of overall value. The production is estimated to be 217,559 tonnes (wet wt.) which is equivalent to more than 10 billion sheets of dried laver.[2]


Molluscs are the second most important group of marine aquaculture products. The primary species produced, including the oysters (Crassostrea gigas and Pinctada fucata), Korean mussel (Mytilus coruscus ), the sea squirt red oyas (Halocynthia roretzi), the Japanese carpet shell (Ruditapes philippinarum ), ark shells (Anadara satowi and A. broughtonii), cockles (A. granosabisenensis and A. subcrenata), Yesso scallop (Patinopecten yessoensis) and abalone (Haliotis discus hannai).[5] Production of molluscs reached 391,060 tonnes in 2006, making up 31.1% of the total aquaculture production of South Korea.[2]

Oysters are considered to be the most important molluscan shellfish in the aquaculture industry of South Korea, which, in 2005, produced 251,706 tonnes of oysters.[8][9] Approximately 90% of the Korean oysters come from farms located in small bays and off islands along the southern coast.[8] Oyster farming is highly popular, as it produces high profits. For example, in 2003, one oyster farming family worked on 126 oyster long-lines producing a net profit of 33,000 US Dollars.[10]


Marine finfish culture is dominated by bastard halibut (Paralichthys olivaceus), Korean rockfish (Sebastes schlegeli), mullet, seabass, yellowtail, red seabream, black seabream, brown croaker and puffers.[5]

Finfish are the most important species in freshwater aquaculture; species in this group include trout, mud fish (Clarias sp.), Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica), tilapia, common carp, loach, colored carp, snakehead (Channa sp.), sweet fish, Korean bullhead (Pelteobagrus fulvidraco), goldfish and mountain trout.[5]


Crustacean culture is primarily concerned with two species of shrimp and some crabs. Fleshy prawn (Fenneropenaeus chinensis) and kuruma prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicus) are the prime species of shrimp being farmed with the former raised mostly in farms along the west of the peninsula and the latter in farms in the southern region.[5]

Trends and development

There have been deliberate efforts to shift from the production of low value aquaculture species such as seaweeds to high value species, such as oyster in South Korea. The government has been pursuing a long-term aquaculture development programme through the expansion of areas for aquaculture and the intensified development of both profitable and unexploited species. Already certain tidal areas in the southern provinces have been designated for shellfish culture. The number of aquaculture facilities will be reduced by 10% over the next five years, and new licences will not be issued for such products as laver, sea-mustard and “excessively-produced fishes”.[7][11] Another reason for the slow down in growth is the loss of some aquaculture areas to industrial pollution, such as the case with oysters.

By turning to more advanced aquaculture fisheries, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MOMAF) plans to encourage the industry to reduce production costs so that it can compete favourably with its foreign counterparts.[12] Between the period of 1997 and 2003, aquaculture production of aquatic plants dropped by 30% and mussels by 75% [14]. On the other hand, demersal fish such as olive flounder and black rockfish increased by 78% [14]. There has equally been an increased interest in farming of shrimps (P. chinensis and P. japonicus) and the mitten-handed crabs, previously only cultured in China. As a result, crustacean production has increased by 48% between 1997 and 2003.[11]

Future directions

There has been a great increase in production of high value fish species, such as olive flounder and black rockfish during the last few years and a new interest in culturing penaeid shrimps.[12] The vision of South Korea is a restructured aquaculture industry with an optimal production system and enhanced competitiveness. While doing this, Korea will be reducing by 10% production facilities devoted to high volume products such as laver and sea-mustard with no new licences to be issued during the next five years.[10][13] Total funds invested were US $14.9

There is a growing concern that pollution might affect fishing and aquaculture production[14] due to the reclamation works and construction of industrial complexes in the southern and western coastal districts of the country.[5]

Recently, the integrated aquaculture management has created an alternate plan to overcome problems such as red tide, typhoon and pollution created by human activities.[6] In this plan, the scope of ‘aquaculture ground’ extends to open areas. It is divided into three subdivisions; land-based aquaculture, polytrophic aquaculture, and offshore aquaculture, all of which are relatively new concepts in the Korean aquaculture industry.[6][15]


  1. ^ a b FAO (2005). "Aquaculture production, 2003". Yearbook of Fishery Statistics. 2. 96.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Yoon, G.H. (2008). "Aquaculture in Korea". Aquaculture News. 34: 16–17.
  3. ^ CIA (2003). The World Fact Book 2002 - Korea, South. Central Intelligence Agency.
  4. ^ World Fishing and Aquaculture. "South Korea. World Fishing and Aquaculture, New Horizons". Archived from the original on 2012-03-28. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g FAO. "National Aquaculture Sector Overview. Republic of Korea. National Aquaculture Sector Overview Fact Sheets". FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. Retrieved 2011-09-21.
  6. ^ a b c d Lim, H.K. (2006). "Korean Aquaculture: Status and Future Directions". National Fisheries Research and Development Institute. 12: 4–8.
  7. ^ a b OECD (2002). "Draft review of fisheries, Part 8: Korea". OECD Report No. AGR/FI. 11 (8): 13.
  8. ^ a b Choi, K.S. (2008). "Oyster Capture-based Aquaculture in the Republic of Korea". FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. 508: 271–286.
  9. ^ Choi, K.S. "Current Status of Korean Shellfish Aquaculture" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-19.
  10. ^ a b Choi, K.S. "Oyster Aquaculture in Korea" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2011-09-18.
  11. ^ a b Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (2006). Regional review on aquaculture development. 3. Asia and the Pacific – 2005. FAO Fisheries Circular. No. 1017/3. p. 97. ISSN 0429-9329.
  12. ^ a b Ministry of Maritime Affairs & Fisheries (MMAF) (1999). "Long term development plan for the Korean aquaculture industry of the 21st century".
  13. ^ FAO (2000a). "Report of the KMI/APRACA/FAO Regional Workshop on the Effects of Globalization and Deregulation on Marine Capture Fisheries in Asia and the Pacific, Pusan, Republic of Korea, 11–15 October 1999". FAO Fisheries Report. 624.
  14. ^ FAO (2004–2011). "Fishery and Aquaculture Country profiles. Republic of Korea. Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles". FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.
  15. ^ Asianinfo. "Fisheries in Korea". Retrieved 2011-09-20.
Agriculture in South Korea

Agriculture in South Korea is a sector of the Economy of South Korea. The natural resources required for agriculture in South Korea are not abundant. Two thirds of the country are mountains and hills. Arable land only accounts for 22 percent of the country's land. The most important crop in South Korea is rice, accounting about 90 percent of the country's total grain production and over 40 percent of farm income. Other grain products heavily rely on imports from other countries.With the rapid growth of South Korea's economy and urbanization, areas of farmland have been decreasing and rural populations have moved from the countryside to cities.National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) is South Korea's Agricultural cooperative, which is a nationwide organization in charge of agriculture banking, supply of agriculture input factors and sales of agriculture products.


Aquaculture (less commonly spelled aquiculture), also known as aquafarming, is the farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms. Aquaculture involves cultivating freshwater and saltwater populations under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aquaculture "is understood to mean the farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated." The reported output from global aquaculture operations in 2014 supplied over one half of the fish and shellfish that is directly consumed by humans; however, there are issues about the reliability of the reported figures. Further, in current aquaculture practice, products from several pounds of wild fish are used to produce one pound of a piscivorous fish like salmon.Particular kinds of aquaculture include fish farming, shrimp farming, oyster farming, mariculture, algaculture (such as seaweed farming), and the cultivation of ornamental fish. Particular methods include aquaponics and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, both of which integrate fish farming and aquatic plant farming.

Fisheries and fishing topic areas

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