GEOJE, Feb.11 (Korea Bizwire) – Concerns over the disappearance of the culture of ‘haenyeo’, the female divers who pick fresh abalone, sea cucumbers and other goods from the sea the traditional way, have long been documented.
The number of haenyeos is diminishing on Geoje Island as well. To continue the tradition, the female divers of the region decided to open an academy to train new haenyeos.
About a century ago, haenyeos from Jeju Island came to Geoje Island to find a new place to live. Currently, there are nearly 200 female divers on the island, but the numbers are decreasing every year. Some cannot even dive into the water due to old age.
To prevent their tradition from disappearing, the divers got together and established a cooperative association in April last year. The co-op will open an academy to train new haenyeos. The goal of the project is to continue to develop the diving culture for future generations.
The Haenyeo Co-op of Geoje Island is currently recruiting 20 women to learn the craft. Women between the ages of 20 and 50 can apply until April 5.
It is the first time an academy for Haenyeos was established on the island.
The academy will be free, and classes will take place every Saturday from May 7 to August 27. Basic information on haenyeo, diving, safety drills, and singing the songs of haenyeos will be taught during the courses.
Once the course is complete, students will be able to apply to be instructors or commentators.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries designated the Jeju haenyeo as the first National Important Fishing Heritage in December 2015.
Further information on the academy can be obtained at the Geoje Haenyeo Co-op homepage (www.hesu.co.kr) or by phone(☎055-632-2777).
By Lina Jang (email@example.com)