Slave to the Blog: Gone Fishing




A few years ago I wrote a post titled “Fishing with Dynamite.” It was based on an interesting paper by Kim Insoo and Lee Minyong who argued that North Korean export revenues are the prime driver for incidents on the Northern Limit Line—when exports slump, the fishermen’s quotas are raised, encouraging them to undertake riskier and riskier behavior. According to Kim and Lee, when faced with increased quotas, rather than going out to sea further, because of the dilapidated state of their vessels, the North Korean fishermen head south, pushing the envelope on the NLL. Kim and Lee recommend the naval equivalent of “shoot on sight” as the appropriate response to these incursions.

Apparently there are translation problems in the samizdat versions of this blog which circulate in North Korea. According to the Daily NK, North Korean fishermen got the message confused and have literally begun fishing with grenades.

“Using a fishing rod or nets are of course the most basic of methods, but more extreme measures are also being employed such as electrocuting fish with the help of generators or even blowing them up with grenades and gunpowder, according to Daily NK’s local sources…

In terms of fishing methods, those who catch fish to make a living use generators to electrocute the fish, said the source. “They secretly do it at night, but if they are caught by safety agents on patrol, the equipment is confiscated on the spot.”

A separate source in South Hwanghae Province told Daily NK, grenades are also being used. “A grenade factory in Haeju city drops the grenades right off the shore from Ongjin to catch fish under the guise that they’re testing their products,” he said. “If you drop a grenade from a boat, some dozens of kilograms of fish die, so it’s easy to haul them up on a net.”

This practice is also commonplace in the military, said the source. “When national holidays come around, military cadre use gunpowder in the middle of rivers so they can knock out or kill a lot of fish. They just pick out the ones that float to the surface and eat them raw,” he explained. Where fish are more scarce, pumps are brought out. “By pumping some water out from streams and creating embankments, they are able to catch the fish alive,” said the source.”

The Noland family stuck to traditional bamboo pole techniques when we went fishing recently. During one of our outings Daddy caught three cats, one of which was large enough to keep. (Said fisherman and one of the small ones I tossed back are shown above.) I mention this because Professor Haggard got completely jazzed by a John Oliver segment I sent him about three Chechen girls who went catfishing using only a smartphone. (One shown above.) Posing as jihadi-brides-to-be they managed to swindle $3,300 out of ISIS fighters in Syria. No dynamite required.

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