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South Korean Fishermen, Farmer Population Falls

21 April 2015

SOUTH KOREA - The number of South Koreans in the agro-fisheries sector dropped in 2014 from the previous year due to rapid population aging, government data showed.

According to the data by Statistics Korea, South Korean farmers totalled 2.75 million last year, down 3.4 per cent from 2.85 million in 2013, reported Yonhap.

The number of fishermen declined 4.1 per cent on-year to 141,300.

After peaking at 14.71 million in 1971, the number of farmers declined amid the country's rapid industrialization that attracted more young people to cities.

The number of people in the fisheries sector hit a record of 1.14 million in 1967 before starting to decrease.

The agency attributed the drop mainly to the rapid aging of the population.

Last year, farmers made up just 5.5 per cent of the total population, down from 5.7 per cent in 2013, while the ratio for fishermen stood pat at 0.3 per cent.

The data also showed there were 1.12 million farming households nationwide last year, down 1.9 per cent from a year earlier with the number of families involved in fisheries dropping 2.5 per cent to 59,000.

The bulk of households were made up of two elderly people, with 39.7 per cent of farms being run by a person over 70. The average age of a farming household stood at 66.5 years, while the average for a fishing household stood at 62.7.

According to the data, 64 percent of all farming households reported annual sales of less than 10 million won ($9,200) last year, with only 2.7 per cent filing earnings in excess of 100 million won.

For fishing households, 45.8 percent said sales stood below 10 million won last year with the portion of people earning 100 million won or more reaching 9.5 per cent.

TheFishSite News Desk

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