Navigating the Impact of Climate Change on South Korean Fisheries in 2024

South Korean Fisheries

The year 2024 brings both growth and challenges for South Korean fisheries, amidst the looming concerns of climate change. At the 2024 Ocean and Fisheries Outlook Conference held in Seoul, projections for total fish production in South Korea were set at 3.73 million tons, marking a 2% increase from the previous year. This forecast includes a 1.3% growth in coastal fisheries to 960,000 tons, a stable output of 400,000 tons from deep-sea fisheries, and a 2.5% increase in aquaculture fisheries to 2.33 million tons.

Despite this anticipated rise in overall fish production, the South Korean fishing industry faces significant uncertainty, largely due to the escalating effects of climate change. Last year’s summer water temperatures around the Korean Peninsula hit a record high of 26°C, 1.6°C above the 24.4°C average of the past 26 years (1997-2022). This finding, from the South Korean National Fisheries Research Institute, underscores the severity of the situation, as marine life is profoundly affected by such temperature changes. A 1°C change in marine environments is equivalent to a 10°C change on land, highlighting the sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to climatic shifts.

The increasing frequency of extreme weather events, such as abnormally high temperatures, poses a significant risk to fish resources, potentially leading to reductions and damage. Recognizing these challenges, representatives from the South Korean fisheries department emphasized the urgency of enhancing climate change monitoring and prediction efforts. There is a critical need to develop advanced technologies and systems that can effectively respond to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on marine life and fisheries.

This situation in South Korea mirrors a global trend where fisheries and marine ecosystems are increasingly threatened by the changing climate. As such, the country’s move towards more robust climate strategies and technological advancements in fisheries management could serve as a model for other nations grappling with similar issues. The future of fisheries in South Korea and around the world depends on our collective ability to adapt to and address the challenges posed by climate change.

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