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South Korea to Build Artificial Reefs in Yellow Sea

FILE - A South Korean coast guard vessel approaches a pier in Jindo.

South Korea is planning to build 80 artificial reefs near the de facto maritime border with North Korea in an effort to thwart what Seoul says is illegal fishing by Chinese boats.

Yonhap news agency says the man-made reefs will be built in the Yellow Sea near the disputed Northern Limit Line at a cost of $7 million.

The new reefs are being built amid a growing sense of urgency to combat Chinese fishing ships Seoul says are illegally wandering into Korean fishing areas. Yonhap says the vessels are apparently taking advantage of a reluctance by South Korea's Coast Guard to actively crack down on Chinese ships near the NLL, which may trigger an accidental clash with North Korea. Pyongyang does not officially recognize the maritime border.

Last month, local fisherman towed away two Chinese fishing boats catching crabs just south of the NLL and turned them over to South Korean authorities.