The latest round of sanctions imposed upon North Korea by the UN includes a ban on the Hermit Kingdom’s seafood. Shortly thereafter, media outlets were reporting that prices for North Korean seafood have collapsed. From what you can gather online, it sound like the seafood ban will hurt Chinese importers as much, if not more, than North Korea. A lot of fish and squid cross the border to feed China’s insatiable appetite for seafood. However there is some evidence that North Korean seafood makes it way to consumers in Japan, South Korea and others in the region, by way of China.
You may think that with years of sanctions that North Korean seafood must not cross the Pacific. That illegal North Korean seafood is just a regional problem. But thanks to the U.S. importing most of its seafood and to rampant mis-labeling, seafood imported from China, can actually be from North Korea. How much? nobody really knows, but according to Reuters, China bough over $150 million worth of North Korean seafood in 2016.
But don’t take my word for it, take a look at this video showing Kim Jong Un strutting around as he admires the robust North Korean seafood industry:
China is consistently our largest supplier of imported seafood, and very little of it is inspected. A fish caught in North Korea and then shipped to China for processing, is labeled “product of China” so we, here at the end of the supply chain, have no way of knowing where the fish is actually from. Just in case you needed yet another reason to buy domestic fish and shellfish, here it is.
Great post. And even if I did not care about fish or seafood, watching that North Korean video was fascinating. Amen to knowing where the fish we eat come from. Especially at restaurants I frequently ask.
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Having lived in China for many years, I would have some serious concerns about the cleanliness and safety of Chinese Seafood and fish. There are lots of regulations in China but very little is enforced and corruption of officials makes it quite unsafe. During the years I lived in Beijing 2004-2007 we had constant scare about tainted foods of all kinds.
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Thanks for the first-hand insight Larry, very interesting!
I have to agree with Larry. We need to keep tabs and inform ourselves in regard to where our seafood, meat and other foods are being manufactured, where they then get shipped off to and be re-packed in order to be more appealing to the consumer? Food for thought. Many of us would probably not be buying seafood from China and other Asian countries due to their poor hygiene practices.
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