Smugglers prep to capitalize on skyrocketing price of sanctioned fish

Kim Chung Yeol  |  2017-10-20 15:37
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The price of North Korean seafood for sale in Chinas Yanji City has spiked recently due to coordinated sanctions from the international community against the regime. Since United Nations Security Resolution 2371 came into effect on August 15th, North Korean seafood sales have slumped in Chinas markets.

At the beginning of this year, pollock was selling for about 8 yuan apiece, but the price has nearly doubled to about 15 yuan since the sanctions, said an inside source in China during a telephone conversation with Daily NK on October 13. Its risen to practically the cost of gold, so most people wont consider buying it.     

The seafood market in Yanji is often frequented by Korean tourists, and North Korean pollack was previously a profitable product for Chinese merchants. But supplies are down due to the sanctions and the merchants are subsequently reporting declining sales.

Before the implementation of the sanctions, North Korean pollack was relatively cheap. Some Chinese merchants expanded their procurement at that point. They waited for the sanctions to go into effect so they could take advantage of the scarcity by selling at a higher price and increasing their profit margins, the source said.  

Because of the rising prices, smugglers in North Korea and China are preparing to launch new operations. In contrast to previous operations, these smuggling attempts will involve moving relatively large amounts of product.

A separate source in China close to North Korean affairs told Daily NK that some smugglers are freezing as much fish as they can get their hands on. They anticipate that the sanctions will loosen up in future, and are making the appropriate preparations. 

There are also some smugglers who are waiting for the opportunity to smuggle small amounts of seafood in the winter time. The more experienced smugglers believe that they will find a way to get it done, he added.
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