SEOUL, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un revisited a local fish farm to inspect catfish production amid a sluggish economy.
Kim and his wife visited the farm in the southwestern city of Samchon, where he praised the surge in catfish production and surpassing its target of 3,000 tons. He also called a pile of frozen catfish "gold ingots," North Korea's state media KCNA reported on Monday.
Catfish production has been encouraged in North Korea where malnutrition is still a problem, according to Kyodo News.
Kim Jong Il initiated catfish production as part of a plan to diversify a source of protein for North Koreans. One in Pyongyang can produce 2,500 tons of catfish annually, which are then supplied to restaurants and markets in the capital city.
Kim's visit to the farm last year and a string of factories has been seen as a push to boost its faltering economy.
North Korea's economy shrank by 3.5 percent last year. Amid tightening international sanctions, its coal production dropped by 11 percent and production from heavy chemical industries fell by 6.9 percent year-on-year, according to a figure by the Bank of Korea. The agricultural and fish production decreased 1 percent.
The mining industry accounts for 32 percent of the North Korean economy, the largest, followed by the service industry and the agriculture and fishing industries.