Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A Russian court sentenced five North Korean fishermen to prison for illegal activities.
The North Koreans were catching snow crab in Russian waters when they were apprehended in 2018, Russia's Interfax news agency reported Tuesday.
All five fishermen were sentenced to one year and eight months in prison for operating in Russian waters, and for trespassing, said prosecutors in Primorsky Krai, located in the Russian Far East.
The arrests took place in October 2018. The North Korean fishing fleet had caught 496 snow crabs in Russian waters before being apprehended, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Russia's crackdown against North Korean fishing boats in the last two to three years has done little to curb their activity.
In September, Russian authorities said they detained 161 North Korean fishermen. At least one died in Russian custody following clashes with Russian border guards at sea. The clashes took place when guards confronted boats at Quito-Yamato Bank, which Russia claims as part of its territorial waters.
In late November, three small North Korean fishing boats were found in Russian waters. A crew of 18 fishermen was arrested, according to Yonhap.
In July, North Korea detained a Russian fishing vessel. The Russia-flagged Xiang Hai Lin-8 left from the South Korean port city of Sokcho July 16 and was headed to Zarubino, a port in the Russian Far East, when it was apprehended in the East Sea.
Russia and North Korea have pledged to improve ties despite tensions. In November, Moscow hosted North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui, and relayed details of the meeting to the United States.
North Korea has asked the Trump administration to act decisively ahead of a unilateral "year-end deadline," while refusing to take steps toward fully verifiable denuclearization.
South Korean analyst Lim Eul-chul of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University said Tuesday the U.S.-North Korea impasse would make it difficult to resume dialogue by the end of the year, according to Seoul Pyongyang News.