Two North Korean ships have been caught fishing illegally in internationally protected waters off the coast of Antarctica. Both had been previously blacklisted due to prior infractions. To add insult to injury, one of the ships was using an illegal deep-sea gillnet. In its statement, the government of New Zealand indicated that it planned to lodge its concerns with the government of North Korea and beef up its monitoring capacity.
This is not the first time that North Korea has run afoul of international environment compacts. In 1999, the secretariat of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) sent an extraordinary demarche to the North Korean embassy in Switzerland over North Korean involvement in illegal ivory trafficking. The North Korean ambassador at the time was Kim family loyalist Ri Chol, who has since been elevated to chair of the recently formed Committee of Investments and Joint Ventures.