South Korea to cooperate with North Korea on salmon farming project

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South Korea’s local governments are pushing for various exchange and cooperation projects with North Korea, officials said Monday. Salmon aquaculture in the East Sea may be a part of that.

The two countries are focusing on closer cross-border exchanges in sports, economy, education and culture, in particular, as a Feb. 27-28 summit is expected to set the stage for the North’s denuclearisation and the easing of sanctions, reports Yonhap News Agency.

One project will be to push for an assistance project on a salmon farm on the Gangwon Province, which borders North Korea.

“The two sides discussed six cooperation projects in education during a meeting on Feb. 12-13 and the North showed positive responses,” Gwangju Superintendent of Education Jang Hui-kook said.

In 2016, South Korea became the first Asian country to successfully grow salmon. Donghae STF hatched salmon eggs imported from Canada in 2014 and raised them for 10 months at its aquafarm located in inland waters. After growing to 200 – 400 grams in size, the fish were moved to a sea farm which had submersible fish cages up to 25 meters deep.

Demand has steadily grown in South Korea – with sales growing every year.

Less is known of the Hermit nation’s appetite for salmon. However, in 2015, its leader Kim Jong-un took a tour of two interconnected fish farms, the Sokmak Atlantic Salmon Breed-fish Ground and Raksan Offshore Salmon Fish Farm, which are under the supervision of the Korean People’s Army Unit 810.

Ocean One Enterprise, a Chinese salmon and whitefish processor, moved its 10,000-tonne capacity plant to Hunchun, close to North Korea’s border. Low costs and cheap transport for raw material were the drivers of the decision. North Korea workers receive a fraction of their salaries, while the rest — as much as 70 per-cent — is taken by Kim Jong Un’s government. A 2017 investigation by Associated Press concluded that some of those funds may have subsidised the country’s nuclear programme.