The New Zealand Government says an Air Force Orion has caught two North Korean vessels illegally fishing in the Southern Ocean.
The Xiong Nu Baru 33 and the Sima Qian Baru 22 were detected in February fishing east of the Ross Sea within an area managed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
Fisheries Minister Phil Heatley says illegal fishing of valuable toothfish stocks has caused considerable environmental damage in the Southern Ocean.
New Zealand has reported its findings to the commission to ensure its 25 member states do not allow the vessels to enter their ports or import fish caught by them.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says the Government will lodge its concerns about the fishing vessels with the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.