A Korean fisherman brings home an income that falls below the minimum monthly expense to sustain a four-member family, making most of them to find side jobs to make a living, government data showed.
The 1,044,000 people working in the fishery-related sector - 830,000 in the fishing, processing, and retail and 320,000 in related services including fishing boat industry on average earned 1.72 million won ($1,510.89) a month, according to the annual report compiled by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
The minimum living expense for four-member family last year was 1.75 million won.
The fishing boat builders were relatively better-off, earning an average 2.43 million won. Their parts suppliers earned 2.31 million won and the seafood retailers 2.01 million won. The seafood processors earned the least 1.59 million won.
The fishing industry itself was sizable with assets reaching 215.8 trillion won. But over 60 percent of it, or 131.9 trillion won, were debt.
The industry was shunned by young people with more than six out of 10 fishermen being 50 years or older - 34.2 percent in their 50s and 28.3 percent in their 60s.
Korean fishermen on average worked 25.5 years. Half of them have been in the business for at least 30 years. There were over 130,000 unregistered fishermen. Two out of three have to have a side job to make living.
By Lee Seung-yoon
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]