THE governments of South Korea and Iran have agreed to hold talks on fishery co-operation including setting up a joint fish farming venture.
The two countries have already held preliminary discussions and the news follows a trade show in Tehran in May where 80 Korean companies were represented.
South Korea is rich in fishery resources, but after years of pressure on wild fish stocks , conventional fishing has declined and given way to increased aquaculture related activity. It is now the world’s seventh largest fish farmer.
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 but has now grow into a major industry. Joint ventures with other countries are coming into vogue.
There have been deliberate efforts to shift from the production of low value aquaculture 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
The Seoul government said in a statement last week that it is to begin discussions with Iran on boosting their bilateral cooperation in the fisheries sector that will include a joint fish farming venture.
Korea New reports that the talks will be held in Iran involving officials from South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and their Iranian counterparts.
The talks will discuss follow-up measures for a memorandum of understanding for cooperation in the fisheries area signed in May during South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s visit to the Middle Eastern country, says Korea News.
The visiting officials from the South Korean ministry will also check the feasibility of a joint venture in fish farming.
Iran is already the largest fish farming nation in the Middle East, annually producing some 325,000 tons of fishery products through farming, the ministry said in a press release. In 2015, Iran purchased 155,000 tons of fishery products, worth $21 million, from South Korea.
“A joint venture in the Iranian market will not only provide an opportunity for our fish farming industry to leap forward, but it may also help create a Korean wave of fishery products in Iran,” a spokes for the Seoul government said.