In this article we are going to explore the trends of Aquaculture Market in Korea, which plays an important role in food security, since the country is located on a peninsular with a high population density and limited arable land, the fishery, together with aquaculture production is critical to the food security of the country.
The decrease in domestic capture production in recent years has led to the creation of various policies to encourage aquaculture production. The government has been pursuing a long-term aquaculture development program through the expansion of cultivated areas and the intensified development of both profitable and unexploited species.
Already certain tidal areas in the southern provinces have been designated for shellfish culture, in line with this development, particular effort is being made to protect and enhance the surrounding coastal environment. There is a growing concern that pollution might affect fishing and aquaculture production due to the reclamation works and construction of industrial complexes in the southern and western coastal districts of the country.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has prepared a 'Basic Plan for the Development of Nurturing Fisheries' to foster the highly value-added aquaculture industry. Under the plan, about 1.1 trillion won (KRW) (approximately US$ 1.1 billion) will be invested by 2008 to implement core tasks, such as the restructuring of aquaculture fisheries, the development of aquaculture technologies, and the improvement of the marine environment.
The aquaculture industry will be restructured to establish an optimal production system to enhance competitiveness, about 10 percent of the number of aquaculture facilities will be reduced over the next five years and new licenses will not be issued for the production of such products as laver, sea-mustard and what is considered as over produced fish species.
By turning to more advanced aquaculture production sectors within the next five years, the Ministry plans to encourage the industry to reduce production costs to a point where it can compete favourably with its foreign counterparts. With the development of new technologies, aquaculture production has increased to account for more than one third of the total fishery production in 2003 and there has been a great increase in production of high value fish species, such as Bastard halibut and Korean rockfish. There has equally been an increased interest in the farming of shrimps.
Due to concerns surrounding health issues, emphasis has been shifting to the consumption of aquatic products with the per capita fish consumption reaching 52 kg/year in 2002. Consumers now prefer eating aquatic products as an alternative to red meat due to their associated health benefits. Efforts are now being made to establish a consumer-oriented supply of farmed fish products in order to develop processing methods which allow the production of high value-added products.