A GROUP of USP students has visited the World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea and group members have been documenting their experiences in a country filled with technological wonders
MALO elelei! Raemanoha! Yokwe! Namaste and bula from the USP team in Korea.
It's the final day for the USP (University of the South Pacific) team in Yeosu as we will return to Seoul.
Everyone is still amazed from the World Expo tour - some of us woke up late and we're looking forward to breakfast but were instructed to board the bus that was already waiting for us.
We left Chonham University, where we have been staying the past two nights at 7:30am, and headed to Geongsangnam-do Fisheries Resources Research Institute in Tongyeong.
Along the three-hour journey, everyone was excited to see one of the longest bridges in Yeosu; approximately 10km long, just next to one of the Korea's largest and busiest ports.
It was noted once again that most of the land area is occupied by farms of mostly rice and vegetables, few service industries and small towns and coastal areas that have been reclaimed for development. This shows how the Korean people wisely use their land as they still have their own small gardens within their living areas.
A few kilometres from Tongyeong, we stopped over at Seongand and saw a fascinating dragon statue on an ancient battleship. Arriving at Tongyeong Town, we finally had breakfast which consisted of susui rice wrap with seaweed and octopus soup. We also saw a fleet of four traditional Korean turtle battleships, which reminded us of how Pacific Islanders made their own traditional battleships.
We were welcomed by staff of the Gyeongsangnam-do Fisheries Resources Research Institute upon arrival and were impressed by the presentation by So-Gwang Lee. He then took us on a tour of their facilities where we learnt that the institute is restocking 23 marine fish species to support fisheries in their province. Also impressive was the 50 per cent recapture rate.
The institute works closely with the fishers who are among the primary beneficiaries of the research activities. Apart from the advice on the efficient methods to use, the fishers are also provided training. This is a remarkable and efficient collaborative association between the research institute and the fishers.
We also saw bivalves produced in the tanks. Fish being bred included Atlantic bluefin tuna (juvenile), cod, sea bream, mackerel, yellowtail. Abalone and sea cucumber were also cultured together with algae grown for feed. There were also sea cages with extended platform of wooden structure containing several compartments filled with juvenile and adult marine species.
These innovative techniques are new for us and will be beneficial for Pacific Islanders. Efficient marine farming is the way forward as there is a great need to sustainably manage our marine resources.
As stated by Dr Joeli: "Pacific Islanders need to sustainably manage their marine resources for future generations to enjoy the benefits current generations access."
This is a challenge for us students to be involved in the advancement of the life and wellbeing of Pacific Islanders. We are obligated to serve our countries to make improvement in the area of mariculture.
Our second visit that day was to Dongwon Industries. We were warmly welcomed by the vice president and staff of the company. This company started with one single fishing vessel in 1969.
The Dongwon Group in the past 40 years was built on "creative passion, drive and energy". It is a socially responsible company bringing forth new values into the world. It established Changwon plant, the largest seafood plant in Asia. Some of its main areas include: (a) deep sea fisheries; (b) beverages; (c) finance; (d) logistics; and consultancy. In 1991, Dongwon Industries was awarded the Golden Tower Medal for its contribution to the Korean economy.
Dongwon Industries and Group own 13 subsidiaries and has acquired the largest tuna company - Star Kist. Its main business is fisheries - it has 19 purse seiners, 23 long liners and two trawlers. The purse seiner makes up the majority of the total catch, 7.2 per cent, approximately 130,000 metric tonnes. The total trading quantity in 2012 was around 170,000mt, worth about 275 billion won.
Future plans include direct investment in coastal complex in Solomons and PNG. Facilities for these plans include a tuna processing plant, cold stores, shipyard and repair facilities.
The group would like to pursue Joint Venture Projects in other coastal countries including Fiji. There is a potential for Dongwon Industries and Group to invest in west Africa (Cote d'Ivoire and Senegal). They are aiming for the European Union market to act as a fishing base.
It will be interesting to see future development of fisheries in our part of the world.
p JONATHAN WARA is from the Solomon Islands and LATU AISEA is from Tonga. They're 300-level Bachelor of Science students majoring in marine science.