February 25, 2024

North Korean fishermen lead dangerous lives as the ‘avant-garde of capitalism’

A North Korean defector recalls the good old days of profiting off unregulated waters as he casts his line in the South

North Korean border waters are often discussed in militaristic terms, but these seas are also facing an environmental overfishing crisis. Economic desperation, poor regulation and a variety of other factors are leading North Korean fishermen to strip the sea of its limited stock — but in the eyes of one North Korean fisherman, that’s hardly a problem.

Kim — a North Korean defector who used to cast his net from the DPRK before he fled to the ROK — said that South Korea’s fishing industry is a labyrinth of unnecessary rules and that he misses the wild capitalism of the DPRK.